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Taking care of your sexual and reproductive health is just as important as looking after your cardiovascular health or making sure that you’re living a healthy lifestyle. Seeing a doctor about your sexual health isn’t something you should feel awkward or embarrassed about. It is just like going to see a doctor about any other health concern.
You can visit a sexual health clinic, see a gynaecologist or obstetrician, or ask your GP about your sexual health if you have any worries. Here are some of the most common reasons for seeing a doctor about your sexual health.
If you’re sexually active, then you need to think about contraception. Condoms are essential to protect yourself against STIs, but there are lots of choices of contraception that can prevent unplanned pregnancies. You can get help finding the right option by asking a doctor for contraception advice. You’ll learn about the pill, implants, IUCDs and other options and get personalised advice on which one will be the best match for you.
If you are ready to get pregnant, you’ve just found out that you’re expecting, or you want advice on your fertility then you should see a doctor. You can go to your GP or a specialist such as a gynaecologist or obstetrician. Doctors can provide advice on fertility, planning for a baby, and pregnancies. You should always see a doctor, whether your pregnancy is planned or unplanned. You’ll get advice on your next steps, whatever you decide to do.
You should see a doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as redness, itchiness or discharge in your genital area as you might have an STI. However, it’s important to have STI screening even if you haven’t noticed any signs, as many sexually transmitted infections can cause serious problems even if they’re symptomless. You should visit a sexual health clinic for routine STI screening if you’re sexually active. Most STIs are easy to treat with antibiotics if anything is detected.
If you’re having problems with your sex life then it can help to see a doctor. You can talk to your GP or see a gynaecologist about issues such as pain during sex. Talking to a relationship counsellor or therapist can also be important for your sexual wellbeing.
Menstrual symptoms such as irregular, heavy or painful periods should be investigated by your GP or a gynaecologist. You might also want to seek contraception advice as changing your contraception can often help with menstrual problems.
Your doctor will recommend regular smear tests after the age of 25. Smear tests will check for any signs of developing cervical cancer so that it can be treated before it causes any problems.