Reproductive health is a state of physical, mental and social well being in all matters related to the reproductive system at all stages of life. It also implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life. (Defined by WHO)
- Reproductive health care includes a variety of prevention, wellness and family planning. It is a prerequisite for women’s health, social, economic and human development.
Importance of reproductive health – Reproductive health is a crucial part of general health and central feature of human and social development.
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Reproductive health problems –
1. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – bacterial infections such as gonorrhea and syphilis; viral infections such as warts and HIV-AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – human immunodeficiency virus) .
2. Unwanted pregnancies – It affects women, their families and society. Unintended pregnancy can result from contraceptive failure and non-use of contraceptive services.
3. Social and economic problems – The big family-size or expanding population gives inequality in society and also poor standards of living.
Preventive measures –
1. Use of Contraceptives – Contraceptives are birth control tools as they are designed to prevent pregnancies. They also help in preventing STDs. Some methods of contraception (birth control) are –
(a) Barrier methods – such as condoms. They prevent the sperms from reaching the egg for fertilization.
(b) Harmonal birth control – such as birth control pills, injections etc. They release harmones into woman’s body that interfere with fertility by preventing ovulation, fertilization or implantation. They can cause side effects too.
(c) Sterilization – It is a method that permanently prevents fertilization by blocking fallopian tube so that the egg can not be able to reach the uterus (tubectomy) or by blocking the vas deferens so that sperm transfer can be prevented. It involves surgical procedures (vasectomy).
(d) Intrauterine device or IUD – such as loop, copper –T. It is a small device that is inserted into the uterus. The IUD prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
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