Women's Health

Sexual Health

If you are sexually active, be well informed about preventing sexually transmitted infection and the use of contraceptive methods for unwanted pregnancy. Smart women take charge of their sexual health by being prepared and avoiding situations where decision making is impaired.

Sexually Transmitted Infections
Women with multiple sexual partners should consider being tested for sexually transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV, and have regular Pap smears (see Cervical cancer below). Hepatitis B vaccine is also recommended. Sexually transmitted diseases can be spread though vaginal, anal, and oral sex. While effective at preventing pregnancy, birth control pills or the patch DO NOT protect against STIs.

Sexually transmitted infections can be bacterial or viral. Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be easily cured with antibiotics. In the majority of women there are no symptoms, permitting the infection to be spread at epidemic rates among young people. Symptoms include vaginal drainage, pain, cramping, or bleeding during intercourse. Left untreated, STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), tubal scarring, and infertility.

Viral infections, like herpes and HIV/AIDS, can be controlled, but not cured with medication. The best treatment for herpes is to avoid infection through the use of condoms, dental dams, and abstaining from sex if either you or your partner has active genital or oral lesions. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. Infection with HIV can also be prevented though the use of condoms. It can take as long as 10 years for someone infected with HIV to show the symptoms of AIDS.

While not sexually transmitted, vaginal yeast infections can be an irritation and a nuisance, and can indicate the presence of an underlying medical condition. If you believe you have a vaginal yeast infection, a visit to your health care provider or Health Services is recommended. Symptoms include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (Ranges from a slightly watery, white discharge to a thick, white, chunky discharge (like cottage cheese)
  • Vaginal and labial itching, burning
  • Redness and/or inflammation of the vulvar skin

If you are concerned that you may have a sexually transmitted infection, please come to Health Services and speak to one of our nurses or seek medical attention from you own medical provider.

Other excellent resources are:

New York State STD clinics by county

STD Clinic at the Monroe County Department of Health:
855 West Main St. (Bullshead Plaza)
Rochester N.Y. 14611
(585) 464.5928
They provide free and confidential care. No appointment is necessary.

Mon. 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Tues. 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Wed. 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Thurs. 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Fri. 9:30 a.m. -11:30 p.m.

For more information:

Acquaintance Rape

In 8 out of 10 rape cases, the victim knew the perpetrator. It is estimated that 1 in 5 college women experienced completed or attempted rape during their college years.

If you or someone you know is raped, the first thing you should do is contact Public Safety or the Police if off-campus. Do not change clothes or take a shower. Contacting these professionals is the first step to getting the help you need.

You can stay in control and reduce your personal risk if you identify and change the things you do that put you in danger:

  1. Most importantly, drink alcohol less or not at all.
  2. If you do drink, do so in moderation (no more than a drink an hour with food).
  3. Drink alcohol only in safe, supervised places.
  4. Work with your friends to take care of each other.
  5. Avoid walking home alone after a party.
  6. Use a buddy system or use campus escort services when walking on or around campus after class hours, especially at night.
  7. Look out for other women who may be at risk. Intervene by alerting others or calling Public Safety if necessary.
  8. Avoid going by yourself to a room with a man who has been drinking - whether it's his room, your room, or someone else's room.
  9. Tell a friend where you're going and when you'll be back.
  10. Trust your instincts if you feel threatened or unsafe with someone.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). The cervix leads from the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).

Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia, in which cells that are not normal begin to appear in the cervical tissue. Later, cancer cells start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.

Pap smears are recommended after the age of 18. In general a gynecological exam is recommended on a yearly basis, but may vary based on sexual history.

Cervical cancer can be detected and treated in these early stages with regular screening.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the major risk factor for development of cervical cancer. Not all women with HPV infection will develop cervical cancer. Women who do not regularly have a Pap smear to detect HPV or abnormal cells in the cervix are at increased risk of cervical cancer.

Other possible risk factors include the following:

  • Giving birth to many children
  • Having many sexual partners
  • Having first sexual intercourse at a young age
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • A diet lacking in vitamins A and C
  • Oral contraceptive use ("the Pill")
  • Weakened immune system

Breast Cancer

Breast self-exams should be performed monthly. For women with risk factors, breast cancer can strike at younger ages and be deadly if not detected early.

See your Primary Care Provider, contact the American Cancer Society, or come to Health Services for a guide to self breast exam if you need instructions.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI’s develop when bacteria get into the urinary system. They are much more common in women than men. Women are prone to develop UTI’s following sexual intercourse. Urinating after sexual intercourse is a simple and effective way to prevent many UTI’s. UTI’s are treated with antibiotics, so you will need to seek medical care at Health Services or with your health care provider.

The symptoms of urethral or bladder infection is:

  • Discomfort during urination
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)

A kidney infection is a more severe form of a UTI where the bacteria have spread beyond the bladder. Seek prompt medical treatment is you have the following symptoms of a urinary tract infection:

  • Back pain
  • Side or flank pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever and/or shaking chills
  • Generalized fatigue or ill feeling

Heart Health, Diet and Exercise

Women are not immune from Heart Disease! Establishing good diet and exercise habits in youth is the key to preventing heart attacks, stroke, and obesity related illnesses, but it is never too late to start. Plus there is the added benefit of looking and feeling your best!

  • Limit fat and cholesterol
  • Emphasize fruits, whole grains, and vegetables
  • Women require at least 1000mg per day of calcium (through calcium rich foods, dairy products and/or calcium supplements.)
  • Aerobic, weight bearing exercise is recommended for 30 minutes at least three times a week. Consider weight training for strong bones.

  • Know your blood pressure. It should be below 120/80.
  • Know your Cholesterol Level. It should be below 200.
  • Stay close to your ideal body weight by following diet and exercise

For more information online:

Tobacco Use

Thinking About Stopping Smoking?
Pick up the phone and call:
New York State Smokers' Quitline
1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487)
NYS Smokers' Quitsite - http://www.nysmokefree.com


Contact Information

Brighton Campus
Building 3, Room 165
Map to Student Health
M-F 8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
(585) 292-2018
Fax: (585) 292-3856