Sexual risks in mentally retarded patients

Down syndrome is not a reason for the lack of sexual maturity of people with it, and all of them reach maturity and sexual development.

Their faces are different but full of love and innocence. With the slightest attention, a smile sits on their lips, and with the slightest frown and adversity, their hearts break and their faces are confused; Just like a child.

We are talking about people with Down syndrome; A syndrome that occurs due to a small disorder during the formation of the fetus and causes a person to experience all kinds of physical and mental problems until the end of his life.

Although this disease causes mental retardation and childish behavior, it is not an obstacle to sexual maturity. In other words, people with Down syndrome are able to understand love and marital relationships like other people; But is it really possible for these people to get married and have children? Dr. Seyed Ali Azin, a specialist in social medicine, answers.

Do people with Down’s syndrome reach puberty and feel the need for sex like other people?
– Patients with Down syndrome are in a spectrum of mild and mild to severe disorders, both physically and cognitively. These people are usually far behind their peers in terms of development and have shorter height and limbs and less muscle strength, but they will experience puberty like other people. Puberty symptoms may start with a little delay in some affected boys, but in the case of girls, the symptoms of puberty and finally menstruation start between the ages of 10 and 14, like others. Hormonal and physical changes of puberty in these patients are like other adolescents, but they usually show a delay in social development, emotional control, and social communication, and their ability to think abstractly and solve problems is limited.

For many years, it was thought that these people are still in the mood of childhood even after puberty, so they don’t have to worry about gender and sexual issues, while all people with Down syndrome are faced with sexual impulses and feelings. And it does not require emotional intimacy; Therefore, the person’s family and caregivers should recognize the expression of these feelings in an acceptable form and appropriate to the social conditions and age of the person. The prevalence of sexual behaviors such as masturbation in affected adolescents is not higher than in the general population, although some studies have reported that it is more common in affected girls than in boys.

It is important not to treat them inappropriately or with all kinds of wrong prejudgments. Especially in parallel with trying to get these people out of isolation and accepted by being in society and having some social roles; Therefore, it is natural that considerations related to sexual affairs should also be considered. Interestingly, many of them have the same psychological characteristics, mood swings and appearance characteristics of other teenagers (such as a certain style of clothes or hair).

How to teach them sexual hygiene?
– The need for sex education for these people is definitely not less, if not more than the normal population. Due to cognitive problems, people with Down syndrome are at greater risk for sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Trainings for these people should be specific and designed according to their mental capabilities and should be understandable.

In this context, one should not only focus on the physical aspects of sexual health and fertility, but special attention should be paid to decision-making skills, cultural norms, control of peer pressure, and other relationships and social skills in the educational program. You can even teach them about gender issues in the same field of social skills; For example, to know their body and its private parts, recognize their emotions and understand the limits of communication, intimacy and the concept of relationship.

These trainings should be realistic, scientific and with an emphasis on individual responsibility as an adult, and due to the possibility of sexual abuse, training in this field should continue regularly throughout life. Also, the skills of self-expression, saying no and talking with trusted people should be emphasized. It is necessary to pay attention to the issue of internship, strengthening self-confidence and paying attention to the standards of their living or working environment (in terms of safety and people who are in contact with them). In addition, regardless of whether they are sexually active or not, people with Down syndrome should receive reproductive health care and services and screenings such as early Pap smears or regular breast exams.

August 8, 1394 15:20

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