PRINCETON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As September kicks off back to school, let’s not forget that it also serves as an awareness month for proper sexual health. Maria Sophocles, MD, founding gynecologist at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, reminds all girls headed back to college that they can take control of their vaginal and sexual health.
“So many of my patients will visit my office while home for the holidays or winter break, after spending a semester frustrated at uncomfortable symptoms or worried about getting STDs,” says Dr. Sophocles. “Many vaginal and sexual health issues are avoidable or improvable. And with the right education, young women can feel empowered to make good health decisions.”
Here are some helpful tips for navigating common gynecological and sexual issues which may come up at college:
● Unprotected sex is stressful in more ways than one.
- Sex without a condom can lead to stress about STI transmission and unintended pregnancy. So, use a condom! Every time. And make sure you have reliable contraception in place before you become sexually active.
- If you think you might be pregnant, you will want to know as soon as possible. You can find out six days before your missed period with the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test.
- If you are not vaccinated against HPV, the virus that causes most cervical cancer, get vaccinated!
- The introduction of semen into the vagina can throw off vaginal pH. Imbalanced pH can lead to discomfort, profuse discharge and socially embarrassing odor. If you experience odor or discomfort, try RepHresh Gel, a pH balancing product that eliminates odor by balancing pH–and it lasts for three days. If the odor persists, you should see a clinical provider to check for bacterial vaginosis or an infection.
- Sex should be consensual, fun and comfortable. A long-lasting lubricant like Replens Silky Smooth can help make your fun time even better.
● Can’t shake that UTI? UTIs are very common among sexually active women. When diagnosed with a UTI, your healthcare provider will prescribe an antibiotic that will deplete your body of both its good and bad bacteria. This can sometimes have an adverse effect, with the imbalance causing yet another infection. Pro-B, a vaginal probiotic, balances yeast and bacteria every day to normalize the delicate vagina flora.
● Take celebrity health trends with a grain of salt. The next time you find yourself reading up on the latest celebrity trend of taking care down there, you should think twice. Many new ‘beauty’ trends for vaginal health such as vaginal steaming and jade eggs are harmful to vaginal health and can be dangerous.
● Leave those vaginal wipes at home. While they might be convenient and discreet for a mid-day ‘freshen-up’, scented vaginal wipes can irritate the vulva and vagina. Covering up an undesirable odor only temporarily masks the root issue.
“While more girls are becoming vocal about their vaginal health issues, let’s make sure they are passing along accurate and helpful information to one another,” adds Sophocles.