Sexual Health Health Center

Reproductive health: There are many reasons people run into trouble trying to conceive, and the cause of that difficulty can lie in either the man or woman. Most cases of infertility in women result from ovulation problems. Such problems may include premature ovulation failure, which is when the ovaries do not release an egg at regular intervals or do not release an egg that is healthy enough. Blocked fallopian tubes, physical issues with the uterine wall, a woman's age, stress, poor diet, weight or genetic conditions may also contribute to problems with fertility. Male infertility may involve similar factors such as age or weight, but also may include physical problems such as testes that do not produce enough sperm to fertilize a female's egg.

Contraception: The reason for using contraception is to prevent pregnancy while remaining sexually active. Barrier methods work because they physically prevent sperm from entering the female uterus. Other forms of contraception are effective because they release hormones into the female body that prevent ovulation. Hormonal birth control can be delievered through pills, patches and other devices.

STDs: STDs are caused by different bacteria and viruses that enter the body through unprotected sexual activity and sharing needles. STDs can be passed along through vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. There are over 20 types of STDs, some caused by bacteria that can be treated by antibiotics and some by viruses that have no cure. Certain viruses can turn to more deadly diseases later. For example, HIV may progress to AIDS and HPV can cause certain types of cancers.

Male reproductive health: Male reproductive issues can result from a variety of factors, including weight, diet and nerve damage. Even psychological factors may be involved in conditions like erectile dysfunction. Anxiety, guilt, depression, low levels of testosterone, injured nerves, obesity and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and heart disease are all linked to erectile dysfunction.

Female reproductive health: The menstrual cycles is typically lasts 28 days but can range from 21 to 35 days. At the start of a woman's menstrual cycle, hormone levels rise, which causes the uterine lining to grow and thicken. An egg then begins to mature in one of the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus. If this egg is fertilized by a male sperm cell via sexual intercourse, the result is pregnancy. If it is not fertilized, the uterus does not need this extra thick lining and sheds that lining. This shedding results in the menstruation women experience each month.

Review Date: 
September 4, 2012
Last Updated:
November 13, 2013