Women’s healthcare professionals have the privilege to partner with patients to achieve the best overall obstetric and gynecologic health outcomes. The practitioner will establish and maintain a relationship with the patient commonly throughout their lifetime and walk alongside them with the many changes that occur. During their visit the practitioner will obtain pertinent information, perform a physical exam as needed, and discuss treatment options for shared decision-making. Anticipated topics of discussion often include:
- Characteristics or symptoms of menstruation or menopause
- Mental health status
- Risk factors for sexually transmitted infections
- Health changes or concerns
- Contraception and more
Sexual health conversations are vital
Conversations related to sexual health is sometimes avoided or neglected by either patient or practitioner as the subject may be viewed as taboo or controversial. For many women, this is an extremely important component to their personal or intimate relationship/s and overall well-being.
A change in sexual health can be a point of contention or frustration when things aren’t working like they used to. It can be difficult or even embarrassing for many women to approach the topic during their visit due to feelings of shame, embarrassment, or that they are letting their partners down.
There are many factors that can impact a woman’s satisfaction with her sexual health. Throughout their lifetime many women commonly experience changes regarding sexual drive/desire, lubrication, comfort or pleasure. Many women feel they are alone in the symptoms they are experiencing. While these changes over time are common, it doesn’t mean they are “normal” or without opportunity for improvement, if desired.
In 2020, Christie Clinic Department of OB/GYN embarked on a mission to remove barriers and increase patient awareness and comfort regarding sexual health and associated concerns. Routine screening, using a questionnaire at their annual exam, offers women the opportunity to indicate their personal level of concern. This measure takes the pressure off women to initiate the conversation and gives the provider the opportunity to explore the patient’s concerns and options further.
Purchase products discreetly at Christie Clinic
In addition, our department initiated the ability for women to purchase women’s healthcare products at reasonable cost during their visit discretely. Items available include personal lubricants, moisturizers, massagers, stimulation devices, dilators, pelvic floor strengthening tools, and menstrual cups. We feel it is critically important for women to have a confidential, safe, and private setting to explore these options and have found this to be extremely convenient and beneficial for our patients.
To make an appointment to see what options are right for you, call (217) 366-1255.
By: Katy Scheiding, APN, FNP-BC