Women sexual health is an important part of a woman’s overall physical, emotional and mental health. It involves everything from the way your body looks and feels to the ways that you communicate, express yourself, and connect with other people.
A woman’s sexual health reflects her ability to enjoy sex, which means being able to engage in healthy relationships and have satisfying sexual experiences that feel safe, rewarding, and natural. Sexual health also includes protecting against the spread of diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV/AIDS.
Despite the importance of sexual health, many women experience gaps in care. This can happen for a number of reasons: Social stigma, low awareness or understanding about the condition and its treatment options, lack of time, and other constraints that inhibit access to timely care.
In addition to identifying, diagnosing, and treating the problem itself, health care professionals must educate women about the conditions they are experiencing so that they understand their impact on their lives and can get support for managing their symptoms. This includes learning about STI screenings and condom use.
When it comes to sexual health, women’s needs are unique and vary greatly from one woman to the next. That’s why a team approach is essential to ensure women’s sexual health remains strong.
The health care professionals at Spectrum Health know that women’s sexual health is an integral part of a woman’s whole self. They can provide guidance and resources on a wide range of sexual health issues, including those related to menopause, pregnancy, medical conditions, and other life challenges.
They’ll also help you navigate the medical and social support systems available to you to make sure your sex and intimacy are as enjoyable, satisfying and safe as possible.
Achieving sexual health is not only a physical matter; it’s also about having healthy beliefs and expectations about sexuality. Getting honest and open about these things can lead to greater satisfaction and happiness in your sex life.
Talk with your partner about how your relationship affects your sexual life, especially when you are not feeling very intimate or when you have issues involving pain or difficulty. This can help you both understand what’s going on and how you can work together to address any concerns or changes in your sex life.
It’s also a great idea to share what you think are the most common sexual problems you experience, such as low desire, sexual pain and difficulty with orgasm or arousal. These are often the first signs that something is wrong and need to be addressed.
Your doctor can help you manage these issues and may recommend a referral to an expert who can evaluate your condition and discuss what’s happening with your sexual function. You can also seek out a therapist, acupuncturist or other specialist.
You might also consider a book or movie about women’s sexual health as a starting point for the conversation. These types of conversations can help you explore your beliefs and expectations about sex, and how those might be changing as you age or deal with a medical condition.
Health insurance for pregnant women
Pregnant women often have questions about how much their pregnancy will cost, the best way to receive maternity care and what health insurance options are available. Thankfully, there are several types of insurance plans that cover a wide range of pregnancy-related needs, from prenatal care to postpartum care and even newborn care.
A woman who has health coverage through her employer is generally eligible to enroll in a plan for herself and her child under the Affordable Care Act, which is known as “Obamacare.” However, it’s important to know that a pregnancy isn’t an automatic qualifying life event like a marriage, birth of a child or loss of job-based coverage.
You might be able to get low-cost or free maternity care at Planned Parenthood, community health centers and public health departments. In addition, you can also apply for Medicaid, a government program that covers pregnant women who are low-income.
Medicaid can be helpful because it has a year-round enrollment period, unlike private individual/family and employer-sponsored health insurance plans. It can also be retroactive, covering prenatal care you received even before you applied for it.
Full-scope Medi-Cal provides pregnant women with comprehensive health insurance, which includes prenatal care and delivery, as well as post-partum care for a year after the baby is born. In California, it can also include mental health services and dental visits for pregnant women.
There are many ways to get coverage for your pregnancy, including through private individual/family health insurance and ACA-compliant plans offered on the Marketplace. You should compare the premium, out-of-pocket costs and metallic tier of an ACA-compliant plan to find the most affordable maternity insurance plan that meets your needs.
The average cost of a pregnancy is around $14,000 and the average birth costs about $80,000, depending on the type of health care you get during your pregnancy. These prices are estimates and do not include the cost of birthing complications such as a complicated C-section or an infant who requires an ICU or NICU stay.
How to get affordable health insurance for pregnant women
You can sign up for a private individual or family ACA-compliant plan through your state’s marketplace (also known as an “exchange”). If you aren’t already covered by an employer or a spouse’s coverage, you can enroll in an ACA-compliant plan with a tax credit. If you qualify, a tax credit will help pay for your monthly premium and some of your out-of-pocket costs.
Having an ACA-compliant plan can save you money on your health care, because a higher percentage of your medical expenses is covered by the insurer, and out-of-pocket costs are lower. You should also shop around for the lowest monthly premium and deductible.
eHealth is the place to start comparing your health insurance plan options and finding one that fits your needs. We offer an intuitive site and licensed health insurance agents who will help you find the right health insurance plan for you and your family. You can also learn more about your health insurance options through our articles and FAQs.
Health foods for pregnant women
Getting pregnant can be difficult, but eating healthy foods can help you feel your best and make sure that both you and your baby are getting the nutrients they need. A healthy diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds. It should also be low in saturated fat, sugar, salt and processed foods.
Vitamin C: This nutrient is important for the health of both you and your unborn child. It boosts immunity, helps your body absorb iron from plant foods, and keeps blood vessels strong and red blood cells healthy. It’s found in citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits; berries; leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens and collards; and some nuts and legumes (like lentils, peas, peanuts and chickpeas).
Dairy: Pregnant women need up to 2 ounces of dairy products per day to help ensure the proper development of their babies. They should choose pasteurized dairy products, like milk, cheese and yoghurts, and low-fat or skimmed versions.
Protein: Pregnant women need up to 60 grams of protein per day. They should eat lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and low-fat or nonfat milk, yogurt, cheese and soya drinks as well as dried beans and peas.
Calcium: During pregnancy, you need about 390 milligrams of calcium each day to help develop the bones of your baby. You can get this mineral from milk, cheese and yoghurt, as well as calcium-fortified juices and foods and sardines or salmon with bones.
Folate: Getting at least 600 micrograms of folate daily during pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. You can get this nutrient from dark-green leafy vegetables, veal, legumes, fortified breakfast cereal and supplements called folic acid.
Choline: The nutrient is found in eggs, liver and certain fish, such as salmon and herring, and is vital for the development of your unborn baby’s brain and spinal cord. It’s also important for memory and learning, so aim to consume 450 milligrams of it each day.
Iodine: You need 220 micrograms of iodine daily during pregnancy to help your baby’s brain and nervous system develop properly. You can get this nutrient from milk, cheese and yoghurt, seaweed, baked potatoes, cooked navy beans, and limited amounts — 8 to 12 ounces per week — of seafood, such as salmon, shrimp and cod.
Fiber: Getting enough fiber is critical to digestive health and can help relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and bloating during pregnancy. Try to consume about half your daily dietary fibre intake by eating vegetables, fruit, and whole grain breads, pastas, and rice.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Your body and your unborn child need the fatty acids found in oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, to help with the development of their nervous systems and brains. Unlike some oils, omega-3 fatty acids do not promote weight gain and can help keep your tummy flat.
A healthy diet is a priority for all pregnant women, but it’s especially important during the first trimester. This is the time when your body is making more blood for your growing baby, so you need extra protein and iron. It’s also a good idea to include plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as beans and peas.
Probiotics for women vaginal health
Probiotics are a type of microorganism that helps keep your gut healthy. They are found in foods like sauerkraut and kimchi as well as supplements. They’re known for their ability to promote gut health and fight off a variety of digestive problems.
They are also known to improve immune function, skin health, and cognition. That’s why they have become a popular way to promote wellness in general.
Some probiotics are formulated specifically for women, and they are intended to address some of the specific issues that women experience. Using probiotics can help balance the vaginal microbiome and pH, which protects against infections like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection.
Many probiotics are available as pills or suppositories. They may be inserted directly into the vagina or taken orally to increase the levels of bacteria that live in your vagina.
These probiotics are designed to support vaginal health, including preventing and treating chronic bacterial vaginosis or urinary tract infections (UTIs). Some of the products on this list contain a specific strain of Lactobacillus bacteria, which has been shown to improve symptoms of BV.
Other probiotics are a combination of several different strains of bacteria, which may offer better results. The product contains 1 billion CFU of lactic acidophilus and other probiotics, and it comes in the form of capsules. It is free of gluten, dairy, and preservatives.
Love Wellness claims this product is a natural way to support the vaginal microbiome and maintain a balanced pH. It contains a combination of probiotics, including 8 different strains.
The company recommends consuming the product before bed to ensure you get the full benefits of the bacteria. It also says you can empty the tablets into a drink or smoothie to make them easier to swallow.
A small amount of probiotics has been shown to be effective in reducing recurrent yeast infections and alleviating symptomatic bacterial vaginosis, but more research is needed.
Taking antibiotics for symptomatic bacterial vaginosis is a treatment that may be too harsh on the vaginal microbiome and can lead to imbalances in bacteria that could lead to other infections. Some doctors are concerned that if antibiotics are used regularly to treat bacterial vaginosis, they could wipe out the vaginal microbiome and make it more vulnerable to future infections.
But some probiotics for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection are designed to target the exact problem. These products are derived from specific Lactobacillus bacteria that have been shown to reduce inflammation in the vagina, improve odour, and prevent recurrent infections.
Most women use probiotics as a supplement because they are looking for relief from discomfort from a gynecological condition, but these products should be taken with caution and in moderation. The best way to find a probiotic that works for you is to speak with your doctor.
Some women try alternative treatments, such as putting yogurt-soaked tampons or tea tree oil in their vaginas in an attempt to introduce more beneficial bacteria. But these remedies are ineffective and can cause side effects.
Health screening for women
Health screenings are important for every woman’s overall health, and they’re especially helpful for women at risk of developing certain health conditions. These screenings can detect diseases in their early stages, before they become more serious.
Infections and STIs: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common sexually transmitted infections, and they’re especially dangerous to women. These diseases can lead to a wide range of problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
You can get a chlamydia test or a gonorrhea test by visiting your local GP. They will collect samples of your urine or other parts of your body, such as your genitals or vagina, and send them to a laboratory for analysis. If the results of your test show that you’re infected, your GP will recommend treatment to prevent further spread of the infection.
Screening for cervix cancer: A Pap test is the most common type of cervical cancer screening, and it’s recommended that all women age 21 to 65 have this test performed. It’s usually done every three years, and it should be combined with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test.
Breast and ovarian cancer: The best way to diagnose breast and ovarian cancer is by having a mammogram, which takes an x-ray picture of the area. The test can be performed once a year or more often if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease.
Blood pressure: The American Heart Association recommends that everyone, particularly those at higher risk for heart disease, get a blood pressure test once or twice a year. This is because high blood pressure can cause heart attack and stroke, along with kidney failure.
Colon cancer: The USPSTF recommends that you get screened for colon cancer when you are 45 or older, and you should repeat the test every 10 years if your first exam is normal. It’s a great way to catch the disease before it grows too large, which can lead to death.
Osteoporosis: Bone density tests are a good way to identify osteoporosis, an age-related bone loss that increases your risk of fractures. They’re also an important part of a healthy aging lifestyle.
Skin checks: You should have your skin checked by a dermatologist yearly to check for signs of melanoma or other types of cancer. If you have a history of sun damage or you’re at increased risk for cancer, talk with your doctor about having this exam more frequently.
Immunization: Some of the most effective immunizations are available free of charge or at a low cost through your community clinic. Your ob-gyn may recommend one or more of these at your appointment to protect you from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, polio and diphtheria.
Sexually transmitted diseases: The CDC recommends that all sexually active women be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea up to age 25. You can also be screened for syphilis and HIV during pregnancy, as well as other infections, depending on your health and sexual history.