Five Things You Can Do for Your Reproductive Health
Dr. Hope Ricciotti, Interim Chief of
Obstetrics and Gynecology at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, tells us five things every woman can do for her reproductive health:
1. Get an HPV vaccine (if you're under 27)
Gardasil®, prevents the types of genital
human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause most cases of
cervical cancer and
genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls and for girls and women age 13 through 26 who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series. About 30 percent of cervical cancers will not be prevented by the vaccine, so it is important for women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer by getting regular
2. Get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) regularly
According to the
National Institutes of Health,
sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect more than 13 million people each year. The only way to ensure that you won't get infected is to avoid all types of intimate sexual contact. If you are sexually active, having regular medical check-ups can help reduce your risk.
3. Get Pap tests according to the recommended schedule
cancers of the cervix can be prevented if women have
Pap tests regularly. The current guidelines recommend that women have a Pap test every other year, starting at age 21. After age 30, in consultation with a doctor, low risk women can reduce this interval to three years.
4. Use safe and effective contraception
Nearly half of all U.S. women will experience an unintended
pregnancy at some point in their lives, according to the
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. While even the most effective
birth control methods can fail, your chances of getting pregnant are lowest if the method you choose is used correctly and every time you have sex. Talk to your doctor about which birth control option is best for you.
5. Diet and exercise
Diet and exercise affect almost every aspect of your reproductive health, from fertility to
menopause. Eat a balanced diet and do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. If you are
overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about how you can safely and effectively
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
Updated September 2012