February is not only the month of love, it is also Reproductive Health Month and Sexually Transmitted Infection month.

“Men and women should take these important health awareness initiatives as seriously as they do Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day lasts 24 hours, taking care of your body now can help you avoid costly medical issues in future,” says Liberty Medical Officer, Dr Belinda Dias.

In fact, reproductive health is such a critical part of general health that the United Nations Guidelines on Reproductive Health states:

‘Reproductive Health is a reflection of health during childhood, is crucial during adolescence and adulthood, sets the stage for health beyond the reproductive years for both women and men, and affects the health of the next generation. The health of the newborn is largely a function of the mother’s health and nutrition status and of her access to health care’.

“One thing that is certain is that STIs, contraception and even complications related to pregnancy may affect your health”

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Cancers related to reproductive health

Every year Liberty releases statistics on what claims have been paid out to policyholders for death, disability, critical illness and premium protection.

Cancers related to reproduction have consistently proved to be the main cause of claims in both men and women across all age groups. Prostate cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer were in the top five causes of all claims in 2016.

Dr Dias explains, “At each life stage, your individual risks and needs will vary. One thing that is certain is that STIs, contraception and even complications related to pregnancy may affect your health.”

Difficult conversations now could save you in future

STIs, pregnancy, contraception, impotence, testicular cancer and sexual activity are often difficult subjects to broach. However, having reproductive health discussions with your partner, loved ones and even medical professionals can help you offset any future problems that may arise as your body ages.

Parents of young teenagers that have reached sexual maturity should sit down and have these challenging conversations with them. This is the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience so that you can protect your children from costly future health problems.

Dr Dias says, “This conversation should take place before children show signs of puberty. There is a vaccine against the most common types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) associated with cervical cancer. The vaccine needs to be administered to children before they become sexually active.”

“February is the perfect time for you to visit your doctor to assess your family’s reproductive and lifestyle risks. Once you’ve done this, speak to your financial adviser and find out how Liberty’s Lifestyle Protector can help you cover you and your family. The multiple cover options give you complete control to suit your needs and your pocket,” concludes Dr Dias.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.