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 menstruationfertilitycervical screeningcontraceptionpregnancysexually 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 vaccinationcervical 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.

Women in library

Fertility

Fertility relates to the ability to conceive and have children.

Fertility
Group of work colleagues

Contraception

Contraception aims to prevent pregnancy using methods such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, injections, pills, condoms and vaginal rings.

Contraception - choices
Woman at beach looking at ground

Unplanned pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancy is very common, with an estimated 200,000 unplanned pregnancies occurring in Australia every year.

Unplanned pregnancy
Nurse

Surgical abortion

Surgical abortion is the termination of a pregnancy through a surgical process.

Surgical abortion
Hospital pharmacy

Medical abortion

Medical abortion is the termination of an early pregnancy through the use of specific medications.

Abortion procedures - medication
Morning sunshine on unmade bed

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs)

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) continue to be a significant public health concern for Victorian communities.

Sexually transmissable infections
Senior woman out with granddaughters

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common reproductive health condition that occurs when the tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus.

Endometriosis
Aboriginal woman with her arm around another

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is caused by a hormonal imbalance and it is estimated up to 20 per cent of women of child bearing age can be affected by this condition.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Woman holding a class of water and talking

Menopause

Menopause is a natural biological event in a woman’s life and starts following the last period, after which the woman is no longer fertile.

Menopause

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Fertility

Contraception

Sexually transmissible infections