Before starting any sexual relationship, it is important that you take the necessary precautions to avoid putting your own or your partner’s health at risk. Cases of poor sexual health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more common than you may think and can have serious consequences if not dealt with properly. If you want to find out more about how you can stay on top of your sexual health, this simple survival guide should help.
Recognising the symptoms
Your first step to staying sexually healthy is recognising when something is wrong. Unfortunately, many people fail to notice the symptoms of common STIs such as chlamydia, genital warts and herpes, which can lead to long-term health problems and in some cases infertility. The longer you go without diagnosing or treating the infection, the more serious the consequences can be. Common symptoms to look out for include painful urination, pain during sex, unusual discharge, soreness or rashes around the genitals and irregular periods. However, it is worth bearing in mind that some STIs can have very mild or no obvious symptoms at all. For example, as it states on the medical website https://onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com, herpes often has no signs of infection, or is mistaken for cold sores, meaning that it frequently goes undiagnosed. For more information on recognising symptoms, you can seek advice from your GP or a sexual health clinic.
Getting diagnosed and treated
Perhaps the most important part of staying sexually healthy is addressing any problems as soon as possible. Without being diagnosed, you won’t get the treatment you need and you could inadvertently spread the infection to other people. If you think you have an STI or you are concerned about any aspect of your sexual health, go for a checkup at your nearest sexual health clinic, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or GP practice. It’s also advised to get tested if you have started having sex with someone new, or if you and your partner have decided to stop using condoms. Luckily, many infections can be successfully treated with antibiotics. However, if there is no cure for the virus or infection, treatment can help manage and reduce the symptoms.
Practicing safe sex
To avoid putting your health at risk, it is also important to be clued up when it comes to contraception. STIs can be passed on by unprotected sex or close genital contact, and condoms are the only type of contraception that can protect you from both STIs and unintended pregnancy. It only takes one incident of unprotected sex to get an STI or give one to someone else, although the more sexual partners you have, the greater the risk. To avoid these problems, always practice safe sex and get into the habit of going for sexual health check-ups on a regular basis.
If you want to find out more about safe sex and how you can protect yourself against infections, speak to a healthcare professional for further advice.