STI’s in Seattle

(Originally posted on my website on 7-1-09)

According to Forbes in 2007, Seattle was the fourth Most Lustful city in the country.  Of course they figured this out by tracking nationwide contraceptive purchases, which doesn’t truly paint the whole picture.  What that tells us is that Seattlites buy more condoms than folks in many other cities around the country.  But what else does it tell us about Seattle’s sexual health?

 Seattle has also been heralded as one of the most educated (or over-educated, depending on your perspective) cities in the country.  Perhaps that level of education has more to do with condom purchases than the reality of Seattlites having more sex than most everyone else.  And with all of that education, what do Seattle residents truly know about their sexual health, contraceptives, and STI prevention? 

 Right now, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis infections are on the rise nationwide, as well as in the Seattle area.  In fact, sexually active Seattlites have a 1 in 4 chance of being infected, especially if you are under the age of 25.  All three of these infections are sexually transmitted and preventable if condoms are used.  Despite the fact that you may be taking precautions to prevent pregnancy with birth control pills or other barrier methods, there is no way to prevent sexually transmitted infections other than abstinence or condoms.  Perhaps folks have become more cavalier about these infections because of the attention and gravity of HIV; perhaps it is because Seattlites also know that all three of these infections are easy to test for and treatable with antibiotics. 

 What Seattle residents should also know is that gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis infections can manifest with very obvious symptoms, and they can also be incredibly insidious.  It is not always obvious when looking at your new partner, or even at yourself, whether there is an infection present.  These three STI’s have the potential to go ‘underground’ in our bodies and create antibiotic resistance, infertility, or neurological issues. 

 Luckily, we have fantastic resources in this city such as Planned Parenthood of Western Washington and Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers, where Seattle area residents can access testing and treatment, as well as plenty of condoms. 

 So keep yourself safe, use condoms, and make Seattle proud.

For more resources on STI’s and where to find Dr. Sunita, please visit http://www.eastsidenaturalmedicine.com

Postpartum Relationship Management

(Originally posted on my website 6-1-09)

Your beautiful baby is now eight weeks old and precious.  Truly, everything is going well, except that you are incredibly sleep deprived and your partner misses you terribly.  The last time you strolled to Cafe Fiore and down the Golden Garden stairs together, you were in labor…And now it’s time for “relationship management.”

 It is normal for sex to be undesirable, scary, or the furthest thing from your mind in the postpartum period.  There is actually a physiological and evolutionary purpose behind your feelings.  The hormones that govern breastfeeding, prolactin and oxytocin, actually suppress reproductive hormones, like estrogen, which is responsible for women’s libido and also for vaginal lubrication.  The phenomenon of estrogen levels dropping off in the postpartum period is nature’s answer to birth control and child spacing. 

 Yet, the longer you wait to reconnect with your partner, the more difficult finding your way back to each other becomes.  “Relationship management” is a way to re-frame this process of reconnecting without judgment or responsibility in one person’s lap.  As you and your partner move through this time, there are a few ‘rules of thumb’.  Make sure you have had a visit with your maternity or primary care provider, and you have been given the go-ahead in terms of your physical recovery. 

You and your partner should sit together and talk about reconnecting, and be aware that you are embarking on a new relationship.  Your body and spirit are forever changed by the birth of your child, and the things that worked for you sexually before may be different now.  For many people this is an exciting time to regain power or a voice in your sexual relationship, or have it be the first time all over again….And whatever you do, remember the lube! 

For more postpartum resources and information about Dr. Sunita, please visit www.eastsidenaturalmedicine.com

Hello world!

Thank you for your interest in Puget Sound Family Source, a creation of Eastside Natural Medicine and Dr. Sunita Iyer ND, LM.  Check in again for regular postings regarding family health, vaccination debates, food introduction quandries, breastfeeding issues, and the myriad of challenges that your family faces growing up naturally.