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Question 1 Recently, the term " reproductive health" is being used quite frequently by media. What is the meaning of reproductive health?

 Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health, therefore, is determined by a number of factors, important among those are consciousness for maintaining reproductive health, life style, gender equality and equity, level of socio economic development and quality of health care. For social as well as for genetic reasons, females bear most of the burden of reproductive ill health. Owing to early marriage, they have premature and excessive child bearing. They are more vulnerable to reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Often they are victims of inhuman acts like sexual harassment, and even rape. Improving reproductive health, therefore, is not only essential for improving general health but also the basis for women's empowerment and one of the foundations of social and economic development. Good reproductive health is essential for early stabilization of population.


Question 2 Is it necessary to take care of the reproductive health of adolescents distinctively?

Yes, the reproductive health needs of adolescents as a group have been ignored since long. More than half of the world's people are below age 25 and about a third are between 10 and 24 years of age. These young people are not provided with authentic and accurate knowledge regarding heir physical and emotional development, particularly during the period of adolescence when sexual development starts in them. In the absence of any authentic source to make them available accurate information, they fall prey to those sources, which create many myths and misconceptions among them. The conflicting messages that they receive from mass media make their confusion worse confounded. Even the reproductive health care services are oriented towards ignoring the needs of adolescents.
It is therefore, necessary to respond to the special reproductive health needs of adolescents. The first and foremost need is to provide them with authentic and accurate knowledge about their process of growing up - physical, social and emotional development - during adolescence and gender relations so that they attain a level of maturity to make responsible decisions. The arrival of AIDS pandemic has added urgency to take steps in this direction. The educational response to these reproductive health needs will enable adolescents to achieve good reproductive health and inculcate in them a healthy attitude towards the opposite sex and promote in them responsible sexual behaviour.


Question 3 My penis is curved towards one side. Is this abnormal?

The width, length and erection of the penis vary from male to male. It is a myth erect penis should be at right angle. A little or moderate curvature is common and it does not interfere with the process of sexual intercourse. 


Question 4 Is pain during intercourse normal?

. Some amount of discomfort at the beginning of intercourse is common, but subsequently it disappears. Constant pain during intercourse suggests either infection or some kind of organic problems with genital tract. In such cases one should consult a doctor


Question 5 I have warts on my private parts. Is it a serious disease?

Warts may be sign of sexully transmitted infection and may have resulted from an unsafe intercourse. There's a difference between a mole and a wart and if one is certain that a wart exists on genitals may that be a boy or girl, then one must immediately report it to a reputed medical doctor. It may be contagious in nature.


Question 6 what are the risks associated with teenage pregnancy?

If you are asking for the risks form medical point of view then the answer is, it is associated with higher maternal and child mortality and morbidity. The risks include increased possibilities of caesarean section, longer duration of labour or prolonged labour, damage to the genital tract, toxaemia of pregnancy, obstructed labour, higher incidence of giving birth to dead baby i.e. still birth, maternal anaemia etc. But in real term the risk is more than the associated medical risks. Teen-age pregnancy defines the future of the child mother by limiting her life goals to the minimum expectation of the modern woman. Quite often her increasing dependency on the parental household, , rejection by child fathers, the stress of raising children, forces her to forego higher order of expectations due to the need to struggle for life's basic necessities. Some times immediate demand for a job replace the quest for an education; the pursuit of career yields to the pressures of motherhood; hopes of self fulfilment fade before the challenge of raising a family. Above all, losing out on the joys of adolescence, child mothers enter womanhood, ill prepared for its responsibilities and ill-equipped to rise above the limitations, imposed upon them by their early mistakes. That is why teenage pregnancy is viewed as a problem- as an issue that must exercise the attention of policy makers and development planers at all level of action in society. That is why it tasks the thought of family planners throughout the world. Think over it!


Question 7 I have very little bleeding during my periods. How serious is this problem? Does this affect my chances of conceiving a baby in future? Will I be able to have children?

So long the menstrual bleeding comes every month regularly you need not have to worry. However very little bleeding during periods may suggest some endocrinal problem, which may be of thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamic ovarian or uterine cause. Some of the drugs like anti hypertensive, anti-histaminic or prolonged use of oral contraceptives may also cause scanty bleeding. Be sure that you are not suffering from psychological problem or problems related to stress. Infections like genital tuberculosis are also responsible for scanty periods. If investigated early and treated properly there is no reason why you cannot have children. Also be sure that you are not anaemic. Take care of your nutritional status.


Question 8 How does alcohol affect pregnant women?

A women who drinks alcohol when pregnant can harm the fetus. In the most serious cases, children of mothers who drink when pregnant can suffer from what is known as “Foetal Alcoholic Syndrome or FAS”. FAS children can;

          Have an under average birth weight

          Have problems related to eating and sleeping

          Be prone to sight and hearing difficulties

          Experience difficulty in learning some simple tasks

          Struggle to concentrate at school

          Experience problems in relating to others and controlling their behaviour

          Need medical acre through out their life

          Require special educational attention.


Therefore it is important pregnant mothers should stay off alcohol, as well as those who it is thought may have become pregnant. The harmful effects of alcohol on the fetus may begin before a woman realizes she is pregnant and problems may arise although she is only drinking relatively small amounts.


Question 9 Is it safe to drink during pregnancy?

No, drinking during pregnancy is dangerous. Alcohol can have a number of harmful effects on the baby. The baby can be born mentally retarded or with learning and behavioral problems that lasts a lifetime. Alcohol related birth defects are 100 percent preventable, simply by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy.


Question 10 I am a boy what should I do about this hair?

During puberty, boys start to grow longer, darker and coarser hair on their legs, genitals, arms, face and chest. In boys and men, the first hair that grows on your face is quite soft, slow–growing and usually on the upper lip and chin. Even if you don’t want to grow a moustache and beard, you probably won’t need to remove this very often. Later on, you will get darker, thicker, and faster–growing hair over a large area of your face. Most boys and men remove this facial hair by shaving with razor. It is important to use shaving gel or foam in order to prevent the skin from getting scraped.


Question 11 I have severe itching on my genitals. There are some rashes also. I am embarrassed to go to a doctor. Is this serious?

It is a sign of some skin infection, most likely some fungus infection.  Consult your doctor. There are good medicines available for its cure. Avoid using synthetic under garments. Maintain genital Hygiene. Do not use any disinfectant like dettol solution, nor do frequent soap wash when you have this rash.


Question 12 Is it possible that only one unprotected intercourse can cause pregnancy? Is there any way that a pregnancy can be prevented after the unprotected intercourse?

Yes, it is possible if the female partner is having ovulation at that time. In a normal 28 days cycle, a female usually ovulates around 14th day of her cycle with a range between 12th to 16th day. Unprotected intercourse during this time may result in pregnancy. Also, it is important to remember that after intercourse, sperm may remain alive inside female genital tract even up to 72 hours and capable of fertilizing an ovum or egg.  Fortunately there are medicines which are now available in our country,
if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, can prevent pregnancy. Only two doses are to be taken at 12hours interval. The 1st dose is to be taken as early as possible after the unprotected intercourse but definitely before 72hours. This is called emergency contraceptive. Hence it is for occasional emergency use and not for routine use.


Question 13 Is bathing harmful and cold things prohibited during menstruation?

 No, on the contrary, it is necessary to take bath daily since it is important to maintain personal hygiene more carefully during menstruation. The vulva should be washed while bathing. Commencement of menstruation is not a reason for stopping baths;rather it calls for greater frequency in taking baths. Menstrual hygiene is very important for girls.
There is a proverb " Cleanliness is next to Godliness". Sexual organs of very person, whether male or female, require more cleansing than many other parts of the body. The foreskin of the male organ should be retracted during the bath and the secretion washed away. If this is not done regularly, smegma collects and the bacterial decomposition and constant irritation, may lead to excitement and unclean habits.
Cold things are not prohibited during menstruation. It is a superstition.


Question 14 My friends tell me that my period should be regular and come at the interval of every 30 days. Mine comes sometimes on time, but sometimes it is delayed and comes after 6 to 7 weeks. I am worried. Is there anything wrong?

In the early stages of menstruation which begins around 11-14 years, the hormones from the pituitary gland fluctuate and so do the responses of the hormones secreted by the ovary. In young girls this fluctuation is manifested by delayed or too frequent periods. By 16-17 years of age, the menstrual cycle should have stabilized. Again, before cessation of menstruation, i.e. menopause, a similar disturbance becomes evident due to the waning of hormones around 43 to 45 years of age. However, if your irregularity persists beyond 16 years of age, it would be wise to consult a gynaecologist.
Also, the menstrual cycle varies in different women. Some have a 30-day cycle, others have a 27 or 28 days and still others may have at the interval of every 35 days. It is the consistency of the cycle that determines regularity and not the number of days between periods. In actuality, a large number of women never achieve a regular cycle. Even those who do, may suddenly become irregular for a time due to shock, overwork or emotional stress.


Question 15 Can girls and boys have Sexually transmitted diseases without having any symptoms?

 Yes, it is possible for boys and girls to have STDs without having any symptoms. While some STDs may have quite recognizable symptoms, others may not. Gonorrhoea, for example, typically displays no outwardly symptoms in females, and often is undetectable in males. It is important to be examined by a doctor at the earliest, if you think you may have an STD.


Question 16 I am 18 year old, unmarried and pregnant. What options do I have? Can I have abortion done? Will the doctor ask me awkward questions? How should I deal with that? Is abortion legal in India- does one have to be married to get an abortion?

Yes, you can undergo  termination of pregnancy. But for your own safety, for this purpose, go to a qualified gynecologist or to a Govt. recognized abortion center or to a Govt hospital for termination of pregnancy. Since you are an unmarried teenaged girl, you have no other option left than to go for termination of pregnancy.
Abortion is legal in India till 20Weeks of pregnancy. There are several clauses for termination of pregnancy on medical ground. Frankly speaking, the clauses are such that one of them can easily be fit into your case for termination. Since you are an adult, you are eligible to give consent for termination of pregnancy. In case your pregnancy is more than 12 weeks duration, two doctors need to agree to the proposal of termination and certify. One need not has to be married to get an abortion. However one should plan for pregnancy when he or she genuinely wants a child. At least 8 different methods of contraceptives are available in our country. Options are many to prevent unwanted
pregnancy. In future get in touch with a councilor, or a gynecologist or with a family welfare clinic who will suggest you with best possible option.


Question 17 Is impotence a permanent condition?

Impotence, by definition, is the sustained inability (due to psychological causes) to maintain an erection that will allow normal heterosexual penetration and ejaculation to take place. Once thought to be mostly of   psychological origin, more and more biogenic points are these days favoured. In brief it may be said that impotence may be due to nurogenic, endocrinologic, psychogenic vasculogenic, drug- induced and diabetic causes. Majority of them are curable. Various modalities are available which can be selected after proper assessment.


Question 18 I have severe pain and burning sensation at urination. There is also white discharge. I feel weak and unable to work. What should I do about it?

You have not mentioned your age, nether it is clear whether you are sexually active or not. Burning sensation during urination suggests that you are suffering from urinary tract infection. It is better that you undergo pathological test for urine, namely routine examination and culture sensitivity test. Consult your doctor with the report.
Accordingly he will prescribe you medicines. White discharge also signifies some genital tract infection, which could be of various nature. Some time white discharge may be physiological and occur during ovulation, sexual excitement, pregnancy state etc. However it is always better to consult a gynaecologist, who after proper examination, can find out the cause and treat accordingly. If you are sexually active, burning urination with white discharge may indicate sexually transmitted disease also. So, get in touch with your doctor and seek advice. Remember, that it is very much important to maintain genital hygiene.


Question 19 I have very heavy and painful periods. What should I do? Is anything seriously wrong with me?

Heavy period is most of the time painful. However heavy period itself is not normal. It may suggests either some hormonal disturbance or some organic problems like tumour in the uterus, polyp etc. It is better that you consult a gynaecologist who may suggest some investigations to find out the cause and give you appropriate treatment. If you allow the condition to persist for a longer period, it may make you anaemic.


Question 20 I have irregular periods. Sometimes I even have two periods in a month. My friends have periods that seem to run like clockwork. Is something wrong with me? What can I do about it?

This suggests that you may be suffering from some endocrinal problem or other organic pathology like tumour in the uterus. Consult a good gynaecologist who will guide you for the necessary investigations depending on your age and whether you would like to have children, treatment has to be tailored.


Question 21 I am 18-year-old girl. I have not started my periods, whereas my friends have had it for years now. Do I have a serous problem? What should I do?

Yes, it seems that you have a problem. This condition is called primary amenorrhoea. This is usually defined as the failure of the onset of menses by age 18 regardless of normal growth and development. The general incidence in our country has been estimated to be 0.65%. The condition could be because of endocrinological disorders, congenital abnormalities of the genital tract, conditions like chronic illness malnutrition etc. There is indeed a long list of disorders that can cause primary amenorrhoea. You need to be investigated step by step to exclude the probable causes. Unless you consult your gynecologist the diagnosis cannot be made. Proper treatment may cure and solve your problem.


Question 22 My Vagina gives off a pungent odor, which makes me uncomfortable about engaging in sexual activity. What can I do about this problem?


Vaginal odors are most commonly due to vaginal infections. Need to consult your gynecologist and be checked for Gardnerella Vaginalis and Trichimonas- the two most common infections associated with odors. The infections are usually successfully treated with medication.


Question 23 Can vagina become “ looser?” Since the birth of my children, I don’t have the muscle control I once did. I’ve done Kegels until I am blue in the face and they are not helping?

Varying degree of genital prolapses and laxity of the pelvic floor may follow difficult or prolonged labour and childbirth. Bladder leakage may also occur with this condition. Surgery helps in restoring the bladder, uterus, rectum and vagina to their correct positions and functions.


Question 24 What happens to body hair at puberty?

At all ages, our skin has fine, short hairs all over it– the amount and type depends on our genes (take a look at your parents). When we are going through puberty, we start to grow thicker and/or darker hair around our genitals, under are armpits and on our legs. The length, darkness and thickness of this vary between people.


Question 25 I am a girl what should I do about this hair?

Some people choose to trim, lighten or remove body hair and others don’t– it is your choice. There is nothing wrong with feeling that you don’t want to remove body hair. Removing hair can cause some minor problems if the skin is nicked, irritated or the re–growing hair gets stuck under the skin surface.



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