Mai, 16 years old, 16 weeks pregnant, suffered a uterine perforation, bleeding in the abdomen after an abortion in a private clinic.
The girl was taken to the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Hanoi) in a critical condition. Doctor Phan Chi Thanh, Department of Examination, National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said that patients at risk of infection, if not treated in time, may have to have a hysterectomy and no longer have the chance to get pregnant later.
Mai is a high school student, having sex with her boyfriend. When they found out they were pregnant, both were confused and scared, and decided to go to a private clinic to have an abortion. Due to a large pregnancy, and an abortion at an unsanitary facility, Mai had a dangerous accident.
According to Dr. Thanh, few minors go to public hospitals for antenatal check-ups, most of them are emergency cases due to severe accidents, the rest of them mainly go to private clinics or secluded places to avoid scandals. . Some come to the hospital for examination due to abnormal findings in the genital organs. For example, Hoa was 14 years old, had sex for the first time, did not use a condom, and pimples appeared in clusters, the doctor diagnosed genital warts – an infection caused by sexual intercourse. Hoa’s boyfriend does not have this disease. The two had a disagreement and went to the doctor themselves, without family members accompanying them. Hay Son was 14 years old, after having sex, a few small pimples appeared on the foreskin, so he was worried, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, didn’t dare to tell his family. Seeing that the child had strange symptoms, the family took him to the hospital for examination.
“Adolescents are not yet physically and mentally mature, having sex too soon is prone to sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancy, affecting the future,” said Dr. Thanh.
According to a study on student health behavior conducted by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), in 6 years, the rate of having sex for the first time before the age of 14 doubled, from 1 45% in 2013 to 3.51% in 2019. Among students who have had sex, more than 42% used condoms and 44% used other birth control methods, lower than in 2013.
Doctor Thanh said that this is an alarming number that shows that sexual orientation in children is increasing, but the actual number may be higher because many children do not dare to be honest. In addition, the new study mentions the percentage of children who used a condom during the most recent sexual intercourse, while the other times have not been counted.
A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half of high school students in the country have had sex. Of these, nearly 60% used a condom the last time they had sex, and 14% of teenagers didn’t use any contraception the last time they had sex.
Explaining the reason why children tend to have sex early, the doctor said that the body at puberty develops every day due to increased hormones, and the children themselves are surprised and curious about their bodies. Moreover, minors are not fully equipped with knowledge and skills to take responsibility for themselves, and are exposed to social networks with harmful content.
“Sex education, sex life, protection measures when having sex… usually go one to two years ahead of a child’s physiological development, for example, for a girl, 8 until the age of 10, boys are 9 to 12 years old. However, in Vietnam, children receive sex education quite late, many families let their children grow up on their own, making the children surprised, confused and curious”, Mr. Thanh said. .
Meanwhile, according to this expert, Western countries provide sex education from preschool age, equipping them with knowledge suitable for children’s physical and cognitive development. In Japan, sex education is compulsory for 10-11 year olds, mainly dealing with biological topics such as menstruation and ejaculation. China and Sri Lanka implement sex education for children about the reproductive stage. Sweden since 1942 has equipped children aged 7 and over with basic knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth…
Sharing the same opinion, Dr. Le Duy Thao, Department of Andrology, Hong Ngoc General Hospital, said that the reason for the increase in the rate of sexual relations in children is because the gender issue is quite sensitive, most parents do not explain specifically or avoid teaching children to understand. This inadvertently makes children curious, unable to select good information, especially in the era of developed social networks.
Currently, there are no studies in Vietnam on the percentage of children who have talked to their parents about sex and its effectiveness. Around the world, in a recent study of 600 young adults aged 12 to 15 years old in the United States, nearly a third of the children involved said they had never talked to their parents about sex. Another study, based on more than 50 studies involving 25,314 adolescents over 30 years, published in the journal JAMA, found that adolescents who talked to their parents about sex were more likely to use condoms. latex and birth control to protect yourself more.
“Sex is not bad, but with minors who are not fully equipped with knowledge, it can easily lead to unpredictable consequences,” said Dr. Thao.
Early sex has consequences. For boys, sex is sometimes meant for self-expression or self-discovery, which can cause unwanted mechanical effects such as penile trauma, perforation, and even infertility. In addition, premature and frequent ejaculation will significantly reduce the quantity and quality of sperm. These can lead to erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation later in life. Having unprotected sex, or using only condoms when you ejaculate, increases your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, hepatitis B…, Doctor Thao said.
For girls, the genitals develop rapidly after puberty, especially when menstruating. However, according to Doctor Thanh, it takes a lot of time for the body to perfect the entire sexual organs to serve the function of pregnancy and becoming a mother. Sex early and without understanding can tear the hymen and damage the vagina, causing heavy bleeding, inflammation of the urethra, vagina and vulva… leading to psychological disorders, affecting the outcome learning outcomes and relationships with family and society.
Especially girls when having sex without using safe methods or at risk of unwanted pregnancy. Adolescent pregnancy increases the risk of fetal malformations higher than that of women of reproductive age (18 to 35 years). risk of high blood pressure, malnutrition, stress, depression… At this age, girls also do not have good economic conditions, many people hide their families, leading to lack of sharing and sympathy, spiritual influence. God.
In the lucky case, “the mother is round and the child is square”, but becoming a mother too early is also a huge burden for children who are not ready in terms of psychology, life skills or economy. More dangerously, many children do not dare to go to a medical facility to have an abortion but go for an “underground” abortion, which does not ensure sterility, which can cause infection, bleeding, obstetric complications…
According to the Vietnam Family Planning Association, each year, the country has nearly 300,000 abortions, mainly in the 15-19 age group, of which 60-70% are students. Abortion at this age can easily lead to infertility, infertility later on due to scarring in the uterus or deformed uterus, even devastating the reproductive system such as fallopian tubes, cervix causing fallopian tube blockage, adhesion inflammation. .., the worst case scenario is death.
Under the Children’s Law 2016, people under the age of 16 are considered children, and any act of intercourse within this age is against the law. “However, no one recommends that children who are 16 years old should have sex right away, because this age is still dependent on the family and should focus on studying first,” said Dr. Thao.
To be on the safe side, doctors recommend not having sex before age 20 for men and before age 18 for women. This is also the legal age to get married. At this time, the body is complete and the child has prepared physically, psychologically, reproductive knowledge to protect himself and his partner.
The doctor recommends that families should openly share gender issues, be friends with their children, and help them learn how to protect themselves. In particular, girls need to be equipped with life skills to avoid possible risks when having sex early. Absolutely do not have abortions in unsafe medical facilities.
Schools should include sex education and life skills lectures in the mainstream curriculum, helping children to equip themselves with knowledge to protect themselves.
* Character name changed.