Good sexual and reproductive health is important for women’s general health and wellbeing. It is central to their ability to make choices and decisions about their lives, including when, or whether, to consider having children.
Sexual and reproductive health is not only about physical wellbeing – it includes the right to healthy and respectful relationships, health services that are inclusive, safe and appropriate, access to accurate information, effective and affordable methods of contraception and access to timely support and services in relation to unplanned pregnancy.
Different life stages are associated with specific women’s sexual and reproductive health issues, including menstruation, fertility, cervical screening, contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections, chronic health problems (such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome) and menopause.
Safe sex practices are important for the sexual and reproductive health of sexually active women of all ages. Access to accurate, impartial and up-to-date sexual and reproductive health information, and services such as human papilloma virus vaccination, cervical screening tests and screening for sexually transmissible infections, is also essential.
Having access to sexual and reproductive health services, quality information about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and physical and mental health services can all help women achieve optimal health and wellbeing.