Love Carefully: Get Passionate About Prevention
Free Condoms at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic Health Centers
Protecting your sexual health is your right and your responsibility. Don't be one of the 19 million people this year who will contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or one of the three million who will get pregnant unintentionally*. The facts are compelling:
- The CDC estimates that nearly 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, almost half of which are among 15- to 24-year-olds.
- The heaviest chlamydia and gonorrhea burdens were among adolescent girls, aged 15-19, followed closely by women aged 20-24.
- Biological factors place women at greater risk of infection than men, and contribute to more severe health consequences for women.
There are lots of sound reasons to use condoms:
- Condoms, used consistently and correctly, provide the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for sexually active women and men. They also protect against unintended pregnancy.
- Condoms are the only form of birth control that can also prevent STIs.
- It is very important to use condoms with your other method of birth control whenever you are at risk for getting a sexually transmitted infection.
- It's important to talk to your partner about using condoms before you engage in sexual activity.
If your partner balks at using condoms, remember that a partner who respects you should also care about protecting your health. Here are some ideas to help you successfully navigate this discussion:
- Don't wait until the heat of the moment to bring it up. Talk about condom use before you are in a situation where you might need one. Be direct about your feelings.
- You may want to practice what you are going to say to your partner.
- Make sure you send a consistent message that you want to use condoms every time you have sex.
- Discuss with your partner which of you will provide the condoms.
- Safe sex can be better sex. Many women and men find sex more enjoyable when they're protected because they aren't worrying about unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
- Emphasize that condoms are essential to protect each other's heath.
* Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2008.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® recommends that you:
- Know Your Risk
- Talk to your family to learn about your family health history; Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.
- Do a monthly breast self exam
- Get Screened
- Ask your health care provider which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk.
- Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.
- Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40.
- Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn't go away
- Make healthy lifestyle choices
- Maintain a health weight
- Add exercise into your routine
- Limit alcohol intake
If you have questions or concerns about breast cancer, we are here to help. A staff member at your local Planned Parenthood health center can discuss breast cancer, breast exams, and breast health with you and help you find the services you need.
- The American Cancer Society: The website offers information on managing insurance issues and understanding financial and legal matters. Help and support, including information on the free wig program and rides to treatment, is available by phone 24 hours a day. www.cancer.org or 800-227-2345.
- Look Good…Feel Better: The program, which offers free products and lessons on makeup application, is run by the American Cancer Society. Find a local site at www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org or 800-395-5665.
- Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley: 855-277-4482 (weekdays, 9 to 5).
- New York State Cancer Services Program: www.health.ny.gov/diseases/
cancer/services or 866-442-2262 (24 hours a day).
- Cancer Care: Offers a range of free services, including counseling and financial assistance. www.cancercare.org or 800-813-4673.
- CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation: A not-for-profit organization, affiliated with CancerCare, that provides co-payment assistance for oral or intravenous medication. www.cancercarecopay.org or 866-552-6729.
- Patient Access Network Foundation: Helps under-insured patients with out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving medications. www.panfoundation.org or 866-316-7263.
- Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Program: Offers co-payment assistance to patients with health insurance. www.copays.org or 866-512-3861.
- The Breast Center at#Nyack Hospital: www.nyackhospital.org or 845-348-8551.
- The Center for Breast Health at Good Samaritan Hospital: www.goodsamhosp.org or 845-357-7462.
- The Wig Exchange: Free program offering high-quality gently used wigs to breast cancer patients. The program is run by Sole Ryeders & Friends, a volunteer-run organization based in Rye. www.soleryeders.org or 914-412-4884
Good Samaritan Hospital and Nyack Hospital will offer clinical breast exams, mammograms and Pap tests at no cost for uninsured women 40 and over who are New York state residents. Walk-ins are welcome; to make an appointment at either site, call the Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley at 855-277-4482.
Free Services in Lower Westchester (south of Interstate 287)
- Cancer Support Team, a nonprofit home-care organization based in Mamaroneck. There’s no income requirement. For information, visit www.cancersupportteam.com or call 914-777-2777.
- Services include in-home nursing care, counseling from social workers, financial assistance, a part-time social worker who focuses exclusively on breast-cancer patients and their families, and help with driving and errands. The organization also has a Spanish-speaking case manager who helps patients obtain government benefits, and makes sure they’re aware of community resources, including food pantries, support groups and legal services.
Breast Cancer Myth Busters
There are lots of misconceptions about breast cancer. Arm yourself with the facts.
What Cosmo won’t tell you about being your own reproductive health care advocate:
15% of women suffer from Dysmenorrhea every month
50% of all sexually active people contract the Human Papilloma Virus at some point in their lives
30-40% of all cases of Endometriosis can result in infertility.
Common among adult and adolescent males is tinea cruris. Will it go away on its own?
Don’t know what these conditions are? Sound scary? Maybe you’re not dialoging with your reproductive health care provider and not getting the most out of your medical experience. Websites such as WebMD have made it all too easy to self-diagnose, but could also frighten you into thinking you have something worse than you do. Doctors don’t mean to confuse you, but medical terms are complicated. Do what you can to simplify it. Take control over your routine check-ups with these three simple questions:
- What are my symptoms?
- What do I need to do?
- Why is it important for me to do this?
Want to learn more about those intimidating reproductive health care conditions? Learn below, and visit a PPHP health center for more information.
90% of women claim they experience some premenstrual symptoms varying from back pain, cramps, bloating, fatigue and mood swings. However, 15% suffer from a condition called Dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a severe case of menstrual symptoms that may leave some women incapacitated. There are two different types of Dysmenorrhea, primary and secondary. Primary Dysmenorrhea is usually present in females 20-25 years old and usually goes away with the change in hormonal balance. Some triggers that could aggravate Dysmenorrhea symptoms are:
- Increased stress levels
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- High doses of caffeine
Secondary Dysmenorrhea is caused by an actual physical problem such as:
- Past pregnancy
- IUD (Intrauterine Device)
Dysparenuia is a common problem with women that involves pain associated with sexual intercourse. It is accompanied by Vaginismus, which is pain or tightening of the vaginal opening. Many physical and emotional factors can attribute to this condition. Obviously, first time intercourse can be painful because of the hymen, or the mucous membrane located at the opening of the vagina. However, even in sexually experienced women, dysparenuia is still common. Medical causes may be:
Inadequate lubrication- could be caused from lack of stimulation, vaginal dryness or low secretion due to depleted estrogen levels
Emotional issues involving fear of pain or past sexual trauma could lead to involuntarily blocking entry
Deep pain in the cervix and/or pelvis from sexual transmitted infections or scar tissue
A tilted uterus- a problem stemming from development when the uterus faces the back of the pelvis.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
HPV is a virus passed by skin-to-skin contact. There are over 100 types of HPV, affecting approximately 20 million people in the US. Strains cause either genital warts or cervical cancer.
The HPV vaccine protects against the strains responsible for 70% of all cervical cancers and 90% of all genital warts. The vaccine is available to young women and men ages 9-26, at all PPHP health centers.
You should get the vaccine because
- You don’t need to have sexual intercourse to get HPV
- You can have HPV without having symptoms
- HPV can be spread during the first 2-3 years of sexual contact
- 4 out of 5 women will have genital HPV by age 50.
Anorgasmia is a very common condition where a person is unable to reach climax during sex. The statistics vary since there are many factors to consider. 15% of women have difficulty reaching orgasm, 10% report never having one during sex while women who do climax do so 50-70% of the time. Like other reproductive conditions, there are both physical and mental reasons for not achieving an orgasm during sex.
Most young women are not comfortable enough telling her partner what to do to reach pleasure
Most young women do not know their bodies well enough to know where to tell their partner to go
Emotional factors such as fear of pain, past sexual trauma, low self-esteem, and anxiety
Low sexual desire.
Endometriosis is when reproductive cells grow outside of the uterus disrupting the development. It is a rare condition that affects approximately 5-10% of women. Endometriosis could cause fibroids and scar tissue causing painful monthly periods and even infertility.
Commonly known as jock itch or ringworm of the groin, is an infection of the groin area caused by fungus. Symptoms include:
Itching in groin, thigh skin folds, or anus
Red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze -- The patches often have sharply-defined edges and are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center
Abnormally dark or light skin.
Fortunately, jock itch usually responds to self-care within a couple of weeks:
Keep the skin clean and dry.
Don't wear clothing that rubs and irritates the area.
Apply topical over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, such as those that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or tolnaftate.
Severe infections, frequently recurring infections, or infections lasting longer than two weeks may require further treatment by your doctor. Stronger prescription medications, such as those containing ketoconazole or terbinafine, or oral antifungals may be needed. Antibiotics may be needed to treat bacterial infections that occur in addition to the fungus (for example, from scratching the area).
Together we can break the stigma of don’t ask, don’t tell! You can’t get all your answers from magazines and talk shows. PPHP health care providers are committed to listen to their patients, so make the commitment to talk. To have a happy and healthy relationship with your body, it is essential to know what your body is telling you. It is your health, take back the control! Find a PPHP Health Center near you.