Menopause and women’s sexual health, unfortunately, are not addressed regularly in today’s healthcare setting. Many patients—and providers—avoid discussions about these topics because they’re embarrassed, feel uncomfortable, or in the case of many providers, lack the training and knowledge to address women’s sexual health concerns.
Fortunately, today more than ever, women and their providers are beginning to recognize that sexual health is an important part of overall health. If you would like to discuss your sexual health with your physician, there are things you can do to address your needs.
1. Prepare a phrase in your mind to help raise the subject in a way that’s comfortable for you. “Doctor, I’d like to address a personal issue today” or “Doctor, I’m experiencing symptoms I’d like to discuss.”
2. Be specific, then, about your concerns. “I’m experiencing pain during sex,” or “I’m concerned about my lack of desire.” The more specific you can be about your symptoms or concerns, the more specific the treatment your doctor can provide.
3. Use other resources to help guide the conversation. For example:
- If you have read a magazine article about menopause symptoms that illustrates your concern, bring it with you to your appointment.
- Try having a conversation with a close friend that raises questions about your own experience. Take some notes while the conversation is fresh and bring them with you to discuss at your appointment.
4. You can consult the North American Menopause Society (NAMS)
, a wonderful resource offering accurate and unbiased menopause information if you feel you need some immediate answers or if you are apprehensive about starting a conversation with your doctor. I would still highly recommend that you ultimately consult your doctor to discuss your menopause symptoms. www.menopause.org
~ Dr. Lisa Larkin, MD, FACP, NCMP, IF
Dr. Lisa Larkin is a board-certified internist practicing internal medicine and women’s health since 1991. She is the Founder and CEO of Ms. Medicine, LLC, a national membership organization for women’s health clinicians and a concierge women’s health primary care network. She is also owner and President of Lisa Larkin, MD, and Associates, an independent, multispecialty practice offering direct primary care (DPC), concierge primary care and women’s health care in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, she serves as Director of Women’s Corporate Health for TriHealth, and she is the Founder and Executive Director of the Cincinnati Sexual Health Consortium, a non-profit designed to improve the sexual health and wellness of individuals in the Greater Cincinnati region through improved clinician collaboration and community outreach.