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Lisa Martinez: Finding a Doctor to Address Your Sexual Health Concerns

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The Women’s Sexual Health Foundation hears from women and healthcare professionals often.

We are asked how to find a professional who can help with various sexual health concerns. The good news is that more and more nurse practitioners and gynecologists are becoming interested in this area of women’s health.
Although some women have expressed that they felt very much alone in having intimacy or sexual health concerns, this actually is not the case.

As many as 43% of American women have experienced sexual difficulties, according to a survey published in the 1999 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Many physicians have told us that they have not received much training in the area of sexuality difficulties. A residency program in sexual health is not available for physicians in the United States. So it may take research on your part to find the right professional. However, according to our international internet survey by The Women’s Sexual Health Foundation, most women expected their gynecologist to be the most knowledgeable in this area of women’s health. Women can also increase the chances of getting the best possible care by being aware of their own sexual health and potential options for solutions and talking to other women.

Step One: Find an understanding and knowledgeable healthcare provider
Some women prefer female doctors or nurse practitioners, but the important issue is finding a provider who has the expertise to help you.

First start with your primary care physician, gynecologist or nurse practitioner, and if your provider cannot help, then ask for a referral to a provider who can.

You may also get a recommendation for a specialist from other women who have been treated for a similar condition. However, when speaking with other women who have had success, generally it is wise to speak with women who are at least several months post treatment. You want to make sure that their success has been long lasting. There can also be a placebo effect with treatments. This means that women will believe that the treatment is offering help, but in reality it is not.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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