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The Reproductive Bits

Ladies – acclimatisation increases the body’s iron-rich red blood cells. If you suffer from heavy periods discuss iron supplements with your doctor before travelling.

When travelling, periods can be difficult and disposing of sanitary wear a problem. Periods can be controlled, maybe by a change in contraception. This needs planning.

There may be an increased risk of blood clots in the legs when taking the combined contraceptive pill at altitude. In reality this risk is low in a fit, active, non smoking lady unless staying above 4,500m for over a week. Many women use ‘the pill’ for period control.

Progesterone is safe at any altitude and is available as the ‘mini pill’. In an injection, implant contraception or Intra Uterine System (Mirena) it may also prevent periods.

Ladies and gents – barrier methods such as condoms don’t give full protection against disease. Abstention always works. Dispose of condoms properly as they take many years to rot.

A child’s organs are being formed in the first three months in the womb. It is probably best to avoid high altitude during this time.

Plan contraception and period control 6 months before travelling.

After a successful trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro (5,895m) a traveller celebrated with a tour of the east African coast and game parks. He avoided malaria but returned home HIV positive.

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