Medical Considerations Before Getting Married

Medical Histories

Love is a beautiful thing that comes in all shapes, sizes, and ways.  And while love is the foundation of marriage, most people understand that there are lots of other components needed like trust, similar values, and compatibility to truly endure the test of time.

That being said, a consideration that is often overlooked or swept under the table prior to getting married is the medical history and physical health of your partner and their family.  These factors can play a major role in your future life together, especially if you plan on having children.

Sexual Health

A happy, healthy sex life is important for all relationships as well as an open dialogue about your sexual past.  It’s beneficial to get tested together for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and talk about anything you or your partner may have acquired before getting together.

This becomes essential if one of you have contracted an incurable STD, such as HIV or herpes.  These lifelong viruses don’t have to be deal breakers, but they can greatly alter your sex life, especially since extra precautions might be needed in the bedroom.

Genetic Testing

Genetics are playing a larger role in families than ever before.  Knowing your family history for disease as well as your partner’s can provide a crystal ball to the future of your own family.

For instance, if you know your family has a history of heart disease, you’d probably try to implement healthy life choices to minimize your chance of heart attack.  With your partner’s understanding and cooperation, this kind of lifestyle will be easier to achieve.

For those planning to have children, knowing your genetic predispositions can give you a helpful assurance into the life of your child.  Carrier testing prior to getting pregnant can tell you if you or your partner have genetic mutations which can lead to life altering diseases for your baby such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.  However, even if you’re at risk, having the recessive mutation is not a guarantee that it will be passed along to your kids.

Unfortunately, medical considerations are rarely a fun or sexy topic to talk about when you’re romantically involved.  But for those wanting to tie the knot, knowing your physical health and history can contribute to a long, happy life together.

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Sexual Health

Sexual Health

defines sexual health as a “state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”(World Health Organization, 2006a)

Sexual Health Issues

There are many issues involved with sexual health some of them are sexual rights, sex education, sexual safety, sexual orientation, eroticism, gender equality, reproduction, and emotional attachment. However, for the purposes of this blog article I will focus on the treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

Latex Condoms will significantly reduce the risk of catching or spreading a sexually transmitted disease. However, it is not a perfect method of protection and some risk still remains.

STDs are caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses and they are infections that are transmitted from one person to another through sexual activity. Most STDs caused by parasites or bacteria can be treated successfully with antibiotics or other drug. STDs caused by viruses can not be cured but most can be controlled to some degree with treatment.

In general STDs are more problematic for women than men. The symptoms are usually more severe for women than men and pregnant women with an STD might be exposing their unborn children to serious health risks.

Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There are more than twenty recognized STDs affecting people around the world. The most common are listed below.

  • Gonorrhea – caused by bacteria; some people have no symptoms; treated with antibiotics
  • Genital herpes – caused by a virus; some people have no or mild symptoms; can infect babies during childbirth; no cure but some drugs available for treatment
  • Syphilis – caused by bacteria; dangerous to unborn children of pregnant women; easily treated with antibiotics
  • HIV / AIDS – HIV is the virus and AIDs is the most advanced stage of an HIV infection; can infect babies during pregnancy and childbirth; no cure but drugs are available for treatment
  • Trichomoniasis – caused by a parasite; often people have no symptoms; men usually do not have symptoms; treated with antibiotics
  • Chlamydia – caused by bacteria; usually doesn’t cause symptoms; can cause infertility in women; treated with antibiotics
  • HPV – Human Papillomaviruses – caused by common viruses; they result in genital warts; more than 100 types of HPV and about 30 put the individual at risk of cancer

If you think you may have an STD then you should see your doctor or health provider immediately – for your health and your partner’s health.

Prostate Health

How Men Can Improve their Prostate Health

As men get older they experience prostate problems and sometimes prostate cancer. Actually the statistics are shocking – 1 in 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. The good news is that men can lower their risk and improve their prostate health with sensible lifestyle decisions.

Things Men Can’t Control

Family history – if a man has a close male relative with a history of prostate cancer then he is at higher risk
Naturally high testosterone levels – also includes men on testosterone therapy – this is a higher risk factor
Ethnicity – African American men have a higher risk factor than other ethnicities

Things Men Can Control

  • Smoking – quit smoking; smoking will greatly increase your risk factor for prostate and other cancers
  • Alcohol – quit drinking or severely limit your alcohol intake
  • Coffee – limit your daily intake of coffee to one cup per day
  • Exercise – an exercise program will improve your overall health
  • Kegel exercises – these exercises consist of tightening the muscles around the man’s scrotum and anus for a few seconds and then relaxing; 10 repetitions 5 times per day is recommended
  • Weight – maintain a healthy weight throughout your life
  • Diet – consult your doctor and / or a nutritionist; include foods with lycopene such as red peppers and tomatoes; include soy and fish with high levels of omega-3 acids such as tuna and salmon.
  • Doctor Visits – visit your doctor regularly for checkups; it is far better to diagnose any cancer early rather than later