For women looking after your body through adulthood is important as your body will go through a number of changes and it is important to know what changes are normal and what you should get checked out. If you have any concerns about any changes in your body you should contact your GP. The Northern Trust GUM/Sexual Health Clinic and Contraceptive Clinic are also available to help you.

Safer sex
As part of taking care of yourself it is important women take responsibility also for ensuring safer sex. This includes making sure you talk about a sexual relationship before you engage in one, ensure that you both have been for sexual health screening and wait for results, making sure you use condoms properly, being aware of the impact that alcohol and drugs can have on sex and if using sex toys using a different condom for each use and washing between partners.

Using condoms properly will prevent the exchange of any bodily fluids. This is important as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are mainly spread through the exchange of bodily fluids however some are spread through close skin-to-skin contact. Always ensure condoms are in date, the packaging is intact and that they are of a recommended standard; they should display the CE mark on the packaging. Be careful when opening the condom not to damage it and it should then be placed over an erect penis and should roll down easily. Condoms only roll on one way so if it does not go on easily it probably is on the wrong way. This means it will need discarded as it will have come into contact with bodily fluids. Always have spare condoms available. Ensure following sexual activity that the condom is checked for any leaks or tares and if there is any problem that you and your partner present for STI testing and pregnancy testing if this is a risk.

Checking your breasts
It is important to check your breasts regularly . Breast changes can happen for many reasons, and most of them aren’t serious. Many women have breast lumps, and nine out of 10 are not cancerous. However, if you find changes in your breast that aren’t normal for you, it’s best to see your GP as soon as possible. This is because the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. NHS Livewell have good information about how to do this.

Page last updated:23 December 2014