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College can be a challenging time in many respects and women should know some valuable information to stay healthy.

Here are some important health issues and how you can best prevent falling victim to them.

1. Risks of STI increases in college
In college, many women become more sexually active. According to the Center for Disease Control, out of the 19 million cases of STDs each year, half of them are in people ages 15-24.

Solutions

  • Always practicing safe sex.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using other drugs to the point that you engage in risky behavior.
  • Get tested if you think you might be at risk. Most tests can be done without a pelvic exam.

2. College can influence poor eating choices.
Body image is amplified in college as you near the end of your teens and enter your twenties. It’s common in college for some young women to focus on calories and their weight in an effort to avoid other problems.

Solutions
If you think that you’ve fallen into the trap of anorexia, bulimia, or any other eating disorder, get counseling. Most college and university campuses have a health center, which can get a student connected to the appropriate health professionals. Eating disorders sometimes require some form of counseling in most cases and should be taken seriously.

3. Increasing stress in college can cause health problems. 
Being a college student comes with lots of responsibility. Stress invariably takes hold and you feel out of control.

Solutions
Try sorting through your schedule and organize a plan that will help reduce stress. Sometimes just categorizing everything and allotting a certain amount of time to accomplish your goals will help. If you’re feeling especially anxious and uncertain about anything, reach out to a campus counseling center.

4. Restful sleep can sometimes be tough to find.

Sleep deprivation can increase irritability, anxiety, and even weight gain.

Solutions

  • Devise an exercise program in which you get some physical activity at least three hours before bedtime a good three-to-five times a week.
  • Eat healthy and don’t turn to junk food.
  • Make an effort to have “make up” sleep time a few times a week to rejuvenate your system if you’re unable to get a regular schedule of sleep.

5. Why you should watch out for Low Self-Esteem/Depression
Depression among college-aged women can be a health risk factor. College women can be at high risk for depression.

Solutions
Seek help through your campus counseling office or confide in someone you trust so that you don’t feel so alone. Remember, a lot of other students are probably battling the very same emotions you are. These feelings can be overwhelming and sometimes require a little help.

Pacific Women’s Center is here to help you with your health concerns during your college years. Call one of their doctors who can help you decrease these health risks.

In spite of the awkwardness you’ll feel about some health concerns, you need to consult with your gynecologist or other health care provider. They understand your anxieties and have experience answering all types of questions.

1. Why are my periods irregular?
Experiencing an early or delayed menstrual cycle is actually quite normal. Irregular periods can be related to a condition called “anovulation.” This simply means that ovulation hasn’t occurred yet due to severe hormonal imbalances.

Sometimes an irregular period may be due to subtler hormone imbalances. You may be ovulating, but the timing of your ovulation can switch around greatly month-to-month. Lifestyle and medical conditions contribute to these variables, such as extreme exercising or dieting, the pill, age, stress, or symptoms of other physical problems.

2. What is douching and should I do it?
The term “douche” refers to a cleansing solution used to freshen the vagina. Douches are known to come in a prepackaged bottle that allows women to squirt the solution through a nozzle.

The practice of douching has long been debated. Douching potentially causes yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Perceiving douching as a sanitary practice is a misnomer when it comes to hygiene. It’s far better to keep the area clean through showering and keeping adequate “airflow” to your nether region.

3. I have tiny bumps “down there” that can be painful. What are they and how do I know if it’s something more serious?
Anything spotted in the way of bumps or red spots might have you alarmed, but it might not be what you’re thinking. In many instances, these bumps could just be pimples or an ingrown hair on your pubic region. Also,if you shave your pubic hair, bumps might appear out of skin irritation.

If the bumps are painful, seem to be growing or spreading or secrete a colored liquid discharge, this could be more serious and you should see your gynecologist. Sometimes these bumps can result from the herpes virus or other infections.

4. I have a foul-smelling discharge coming from my vagina and I’m itching terribly. What is it?
Yeast infections are one type of irritation women may get from time to time. It’s a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva. Put another way, it’s a type of vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina.

Vaginal yeast infections isn’t considered a sexually transmitted infection, you can spread the fungus through mouth to genital contact. There are several over-the-counter medications in the way of anti-fungal vaginal creams or suppositories that can effectively treat these infections.

5.  Can I get pregnant one week after my period ends?
Fertility levels change as your body moves through the monthly cycle. There are times you’re more fertile than others during the month, but there’s never a true “safe” time that your fertility levels drop low enough to completely eliminate the chance of becoming pregnant. The time after your period can be a very fertile time, so be consistent with birth control if you use it.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center deal with these sensitive issues and many others every day. They welcome your concerns and want to answer your most embarrassing questions. Call the center today for help and reassurance that you have the same concerns as everyone else!

They aren’t always easy to talk about, but they are one of the biggest concerns across the globe. Sexually Transmitted Infections occur more frequently than most people think, and there are plenty of misconceptions out there. Here is the essential information about STIs, plus some information on how they can affect pregnancy.

Continue reading “How to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections”