Female Sexual and Reproductive Health | OB-GYN


Female Sexual and Reproductive Health

Our providers empower you to make choices about your sexual and reproductive health, including family planning and contraception.

Medically reviewed by Melissa Chen, M.D. on Aug. 17, 2023.

Female patient and female doctor in an exam room

What Is Sexual and Reproductive Health?

Sexual and reproductive health care promotes the healthy function of your reproductive system. This includes care for reproductive system disorders, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual dysfunction. It also includes reproductive care like contraception, infertility and family planning.

UC Davis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers compassionate care. We partner with you to protect and preserve your sexual and reproductive health.


Symptoms of Sexual and Reproductive Disorders

You may experience no symptoms or a range of symptoms depending on your condition. We may detect a disorder during a routine preventive health screening.

Common Symptoms

Signs of a possible reproductive disorder include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge or odor
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Painful periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vaginal burning, dryness, itching or pain

Emergency Symptoms

Seek help immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • High fever
  • Severe pelvic pain

Causes of Sexual and Reproductive Disorders

Sexual and reproductive disorders have a wide variety of causes. Your environment, family history and lifestyle habits may all play a role. The most common causes include:

Genetic Abnormality

Reproductive disorders can run in families. Genetic mutations cause a variety of reproductive health concerns, such as breast and ovarian cancers.

Hormonal Imbalance

A hormonal imbalance can cause you to develop conditions like irregular menstrual cycles, infertility and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a common sexually transmitted virus. Many types of HPV cause no disease. Some strains cause genital warts and several types of cancer.


Risks to Sexual and Reproductive Health

Certain lifestyle and environmental factors can put your reproductive health at risk. These include:

Exposure to Chemicals

Household products like cosmetics, plastic containers and nonstick pans may contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals may increase your risk of pregnancy complications and infertility.

High or Low Body Weight

Both obesity and extremely low body weight can affect ovulation. They may increase your risk of infertility.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Untreated STIs can cause pregnancy complications and infertility.

Substance Abuse

Heavy alcohol use, smoking and drug use can reduce your fertility. They may also increase your risk of sexual dysfunction and reproductive cancers.


Diagnosis of Sexual and Reproductive Disorders

Our reproductive health experts have specialized training to diagnose a wide range of conditions. To diagnose a sexual or reproductive disorder, we will discuss your symptoms and medical history. 

We may recommend one or more of the following: 

  • Blood test to check your levels of hormones
  • HPV test to check for the HPV virus
  • Mammogram to check for breast cancer
  • Pap test to detect cervical cancer or abnormal cells
  • Pelvic exam to check for conditions in your cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus and vagina
  • Pelvic ultrasound to detect abnormalities or growths in your pelvis

Depending on your symptoms or risk factors, we may also recommend testing for STIs.  

Treatments for Sexual and Reproductive Health

Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB-GYNs) at UC Davis Health offer the latest treatment options for sexual and reproductive health concerns. We also participate in clinical research studies that give you access to new advanced therapies. Our treatments include:


We prescribe antibiotics to treat conditions like bacterial vaginosis and STIs.


We offer several methods of contraception (birth control) to help you prevent pregnancy. These include barrier methods, devices like intrauterine devices (IUDs), and other forms of hormonal birth control.

Fertility Treatments

Our reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists offer a range of treatments for infertility, including in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Hormone Treatment

Hormone treatment can treat hormonal imbalances like low estrogen that occur during menopause.


We offer minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to treat conditions like ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis and fibroids. We also offer minimally invasive robotic-assisted hysterectomy. This surgery removes your uterus to treat a variety of conditions.


Preventing Sexual and Reproductive Disorders

Healthy lifestyle habits can prevent some reproductive system conditions from developing.

Avoid Toxic Chemicals

Natural or nontoxic cleaning supplies, household products and cosmetics are available. They help you avoid chemicals that may damage your reproductive system.

Manage Your Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help your body keep regular menstrual cycles and ovulation.

Practice Safe Sex

You can protect yourself from STIs with safe sex practices like condom use. Avoiding STIs can prevent possible health or pregnancy complications.

Quit Smoking

You can prevent a wide range of reproductive health conditions if you quit smoking and drug use and limit alcohol.

Effectiveness of HPV vaccine

90%Of HPV-related cancers prevented by the vaccine

Infertility rates in women

1 in 5Women ages 15-49 who are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying

Sources: National Cancer Institute: HPV and Cancer

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Infertility FAQs

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