Diseases of nuns: is sex important for health

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What is the disease of nuns

The classic set of so-called diseases of nuns are fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, various pathologies of the endometrium (polyps, endometrial hyperplasia), as well as mastopathy. All these diseases are multifactorial. That is, one cannot say that they will develop from a lack of sex and will not manifest themselves with a regular sexual life: too many circumstances must be taken into account.

However, it is impossible not to take into account that all these ailments are hormone-dependent and develop against the background of changes in the hormonal background. In women of reproductive age, the risks are higher, because the very cyclical fluctuations in hormones that increase the likelihood of developing diseases are associated with the menstrual cycle. Accordingly, the fewer cycles, the better for health.

Thus, the natural absence of ovulation and menstruation reduces the risk of fibroids, endometriosis, and hyperplasia. Before the invention of hormonal contraception, the only way to stop menstruation was to get pregnant. Which, as you understand, is impossible without sex. That is why the listed gynecological problems arose mostly in women who were chaste. This is how the term “nuns’ diseases” appeared. In the world, women got pregnant, gave birth, breastfed, then got pregnant again … They had a sufficient number of natural pauses, there were no hormonal changes associated with ovulation for a long time, and there was no reason for the development of diseases.

What does sex affect

An important nuance: we do not have statistics from at least the 19th-early 20th century, which would confirm that it was the nuns who more often encountered the development of fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and endometrial pathologies. Diagnostic capabilities then were far from modern. But if we start from today’s statistics, then we can say with confidence that, for example, such a disease as uterine fibroids has become much younger over the past half century. Sociologists and doctors attribute this to the fact that many women postpone the birth of their first child until the age of 30, but at the same time, before their first pregnancy, they refuse to use hormonal contraceptives, having read about their harmful effects on the body … That is, they live an active sexual life, but sex as such does not protect them from the “nuns’ disease”. It was also noted that women who often change partners, and therefore prefer barer methods of contraception (they protect not only from pregnancy, but also from infections), get sick no less than their peers who do not have sex or who practice sex very irregularly. The winners are only those who lead a regular sex life with a permanent and only partner. Why? Because, probably, they prefer COCs to all contraceptives.

How sex heals

There are several other factors that may also explain the higher risks of developing fibroids, mastopathy, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and endometrial pathologies with prolonged sexual abstinence.

Sexually active women carefully monitor their health. We all know about the need to visit a gynecologist once a year. However, in fact, the majority neglects these simple rules. Among them, there is a high percentage of those who do not have a regular sexual life: they have protected themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, which means that they see no point in visiting a gynecologist … Women who regularly have sex are more sensitive to their intimate health. This means that they are more likely to detect fibroids or ovarian cysts at an early stage.

With prolonged stress (and who doesn’t have it nowadays?), the concentration of cortisol rises significantly, it begins to affect the hormonal balance in the body, in particular, it increases the synthesis of estrogen, which provokes the formation of fibroids and the development of mastopathy. And during sex, oxytocin is released, which lowers cortisol levels and thus protects you from estrogen-dependent diseases.

Sex improves blood circulation in the pelvic organs. And this, in turn, reduces the risk of inflammatory processes. It should be noted that only sex that ends in an orgasm benefits women’s health. What is it connected with? During arousal, a large amount of estrogen is released into the blood. After orgasm, their concentration decreases to normal within a maximum of 12 minutes, if there was no orgasm – after an hour. The stagnation of blood saturated with estrogens in the pelvic organs and in the mammary glands can provoke the development of mastopathy, the growth of the myometrium and the development of fibroids.

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