Women’s health

We offer tests and treatment for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at our clinics. Some of the common symptoms to look out for if you have contracted an STI are:

  • change in the amount, texture, colour or smell of vaginal discharge
  • redness or itching
  • pelvic pain
  • pain when having sex
  • heavier periods
  • bleeding in between your periods
  • bleeding after sex
  • needing to urinate frequently
  • pain when urinating
  • lumps or bumps to the genital area
  • ulcers or sores
  • any constipation, diarrhoea, blood or mucus in your stools if you’ve been having anal sex

If you are concerned that you might have any of these symptoms above or if you feel worried about something else, come and see us. The sooner you do, the better you’ll feel!

Safe sex
‘Safer sex’ usually refers to having sex to reduce risks of catching an STI. Sex should be an enjoyable activity, but it can still put you at risk in several ways.

As sex involves being intimate with another person, it may allow infections to pass from one person to another. Other risks to think about include pregnancy, emotional consequences and legal issues.

‘Safer sex’ guidelines are there to help as sex can never be completely without any risk at all. However, taking a few sensible precautions can reduce the risks greatly.

The most commonly used barrier method is the male condom. Other options are female condoms and dental dams. A dental dam is a sheet of latex (or similar material) used during oral sex to help stop STIs being spread.

Condoms have been shown to reduce the risk of passing on STIs such as:

  • HIV and AIDS
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis
  • Genital herpes

They are not completely guaranteed to prevent any risk but they do greatly reduce the risk. Latex condoms are the most effective but for those who are sensitive or allergic to latex, condoms made of polyurethane are also available and will help to reduce the risk of picking up an STI.

At ECHO, we offer free condoms. They are also available in some GP surgeries. Condoms can also be bought from pharmacies. Consider always having a condom with you ‘just in case’.

The use of drugs or alcohol can also result in unsafe sex. For example:

  • being drunk or high can cause you to do sexual things that you wouldn’t normally want to do
  • mixing sex with drugs and alcohol can increase your risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs
  • if you have sex with someone who is drunk or high, it could be considered sexual assault


We all generally have large networks of relationships. Whether that’s with friends, family loved ones, pets, colleagues, teachers or partners.

Relationships help us in many ways. They can be our support networks in the bad times. They can be our much needed critics in other times. However what all good relationships should have is trust and respect. This comes from effective communication, no matter what kind of relationship it is.

The majority of people will have more than one romantic relationship in their life. This is good for people to see how they are compatible with others, but it’s also OK not to be in a romantic relationship too.

The most important thing, if you do choose to be in a relationship with someone, is that it should be a positive experience. It won’t be perfect every day – all relationships go through ups and downs – but it should be fun and help you feel good about yourself.

For more information on relationships, please follow the links below: