Female Sexual Health

A female must take care to take care of her sexual heath. Female body organs are complicated and it is best to see an obgyn (gynecologist) at least once a year. This type of doctor will check to make sure that a female has healthy sexual organs and most often will perform simple tests to ensure that there are no infections or other types of issues that need to be addressed. If a female is sexually active, it is vital to see a doctor for many reasons. Talking to a doctor about preventing unwanted pregnancy is very important. A doctor can explain all of the different choices a female has and will help a female to decide what is best. In addition, several types of birth control are by prescription only; a doctor is needed to supply these. Seeing a gynecologist will ensure good sexual health; a doctor will answer sexual questions and can explain about the various sexual diseases that one may be at risk for and how to best avoid a chance of contracting them.

Female Body Development

Puberty is the most confusing time during the span of life that many individuals experience. The body is doing one thing, the mind is going another direction, and what actions come from the person do not coincide with what is happening to them. It is the equivalent of being put into a hormonal and physical blender.

The female body begins to go through puberty at an earlier time than their male counterparts. Typically females begin to develop around eleven to thirteen years of age but some girls can begin as early as eight and some do not begin to mature until their mid-teens. Changes, once they begin, continue for a number of years and sometimes do not stop until early twenties. The body is constantly in a process of change as we age, but this is the most drastic and rapid time of change during the life cycle.

Physically, the body begins to change shape. A growth spurt happens and the person gets dramatically taller in a short time. A few growth spurts may occur but generally females are done getting taller by their late teenage years. After a growth spurt teens who are developing tend to look painfully ’stretched out’ while their body is fighting to come into its adultlike proportions at an uneven rate. The shape of the face and facial features change, as the roundness of a childlike face give way to a more structured appearance. Jawbones become prominent and the face as a whole has a different look, usually due to this change. Hair begins to grow in the armpit and pubic regions of the body. Sweating increases in these areas in response to the hormonal changes, and at this point hygiene becomes an important focus of the daily regimen. Females will begin to shave body hair and use deodorant and other scented toiletries. Acne is another side effect of hormonal changes, and can sometimes become a severe problem requiring treatment. Eventually, the problem with acne will subside after the teen years are over. Other changes include breast development and the beginning of menstruation. As these particular changes occur, the body wil begin to fill in and a thin gangly look becomes a curvy figure.Some females have problems in these areas and might require the assistance of a doctor due to hormone irregularities. Weight gain may become a concern, being if the teen is too heavy or too thin. A little girl is transitioning into a young woman at this point and the myriad of changes can be overwhelming and complicated.

Chemicals in the brain cause all of these changes but do not govern how the person experiencing them should react or feel. Many girls become highly emotional. Hence, the urban legend about the scary fifteen year old who is unruly and into trouble with the law, but also cries and screams. Truthfully, the myriad of emotions that pour over any teen are novel and difficult to deal with. The typical teenage girl may cry about something small but half an hour later be fighting a heated battle with a sibling as if whatever was wrong in the first place never happened. This can be a vicious cycle: excess hormones can set off an emotional reaction that leads to another rush of hormones, which can lead to another. The behaviors manifested in the mind of a developing female can be a mystery even to her. She will not understand her actions, her reactions, or even her personal thoughts. Some teens may become depressed, some may abuse substances or drink. Parents must monitor their children carefully but also allow some of the freedoms that a teen is seeking in relation to their bodily changes. Also, the teen must be aware that just because their body is becoming adultlike does not mean that they are legally an adult. The inverse of this is true: certain issues that were not a problem before can now have dire consequences. Pregnancy and criminal prosecution are lucrative possibilites now to a misbehaving teen. Sometimes the teen feels pressure to fit into the group where this was never a problem before. The flip side of this is wanting to be an individual and being different from everyone else. If it is wanting to go to a party because everyone else will be there or dyeing hair blue because no one else has blue hair, these needs can strain the parental bond with the developing teen. Parents at this point are just as confused as the teen might be but with some wisdom because they have already lived this transition in life. Sometimes, they just forget they have.

In relation to others, friendships can take on a dimension that family ties once had. It is vital to most teens to have a close group of friends to ride through life changes with. Fellow teens can take on the role of the comforter and seem more apt to understand what the other one is going through. At this time, parents take on the role of the outsider to a teenager and this causes strife. Interest in relationships develops also, and sexuality begins to become a prime focus. Whereas males or other females might not have been so interesting before, now a developing female might spend much time grooming and searching out a date. Dating can be an interesting experience, but turbulence and hurt can also be the end result as hormones keep emotions in turmoil in relationships. Self image at this point in life is crucial and a prime focus. Sex and sexual desire can complicate relationships and create for intense emotional experiences that the teen might not be equipped to deal with if experienced at the wrong time in the developmental cycle.

Eventually, all of this bodily chaos culminates into a mature adult who is more emotionally stable and hopefully wiser. Appearances have changed but the person is still essentially the same. Experiences, both good and bad, have permanently shaped them for the rest of the life span and prepared them for the next steps of the life cycle: the acquisition of a mate and the development of a career and family. Oddly, those same crazy hormones still flood through the body but time hass allowed everything to fit into a precise, calmer cycle for the duration. A teenage girl might not understand in her twenties what she was going through at fourteen, but good or bad it was necessary to enable her to the present.

What are Microbicides

A “microbicide” is a substance that can substantially reduce transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when applied in the vagina. Like today’s spermicides, a microbicide could be produced in many forms, including; gels, creams, suppositories, films, or in the form of a sponge or a vaginal ring that slowly releases the active ingredient over time. Microbicides are not currently available, but scientists are pursuing over 60 product leads.

What kinds of microbicides are they trying to create?

Scientists are presently exploring developing three different types of microbicides. Among these are substances that:

  • kill or immobilize STI pathogens;
  • block infection by creating a barrier between the pathogen and the vagina; or
  • prevent the infection from taking hold after it has entered the body.

Other important
information about microbicides

Microbicides will not replace condoms as the preferred option for better protection against HIV and STIs. But they will be an option for people who cannot or will not use a condom, and particularly for women whose partners refuse to use condoms, or women who fear violence if they request condom use.

Also, since STIs are caused by different pathogens (some viral, some bacterial), there will not be a microbicide that works against all STIs at the same time.