The Reproductive System - Taking care: keeping the reproductive system healthy
As humans age, the functioning of their reproductive systems decline. Although testosterone and sperm continue to be produced in men, both decrease with advancing age. For women, there is a definite end to the ability to reproduce. With menopause, estrogens levels decrease and ovulation and menstrual cycles cease.
It is important, then, to keep the reproductive system operating at peak efficiency. As in all other body systems, the following play a key part: eating a proper diet low in fat and high in fiber, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming proper amounts of good-quality drinking water, getting adequate rest, engaging in regular exercise, not smoking or taking illegal drugs, drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol (if at all), and reducing stress levels.
Stress taxes all body systems. Any condition that threatens the body's homeostasis or steady state is a form of stress. Conditions that cause stress may be physical, emotional, or environmental. Stress can be particularly taxing on the reproductive system. In women, long-term stress can interrupt or even stop the menstrual cycle. In men, long-term stress can reduce the number of sperm produced or cause impotence. Combining exercise with proper amounts of sleep, relaxation techniques, and positive thinking will help reduce stress and prevent these disorders.
Because the organs of the reproductive system are susceptible to infection, it is especially important to practice good hygiene by keeping the genital area clean. When engaging in sexual relations, it is vital to practice safe sex. This includes choosing a partner carefully and forming a monogamous relationship (having only one sexual partner). If an individual engages in sexual intercourse with numerous partners, that individual should be tested for any sexually transmitted disease. While having sex, a man should wear a latex condom (condoms for females have been developed). Wearing a condom will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and prevent unwanted pregnancies. Of course, practicing abstinence (refraining from sexual activity) is the only sure way to prevent sexual diseases and pregnancies.