Your sexual health is an important part of your overall wellness. Women’s sexual health includes several elements. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a working definition of sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality.” That definition of sexual health doesn’t just concern physical or reproductive health, but it encompasses all elements of a person’s sexual life.
While your OB/GYN or FNP can help with some of the mental or emotional elements by providing a professional, objective, and judgment-free opinion, they’re going to focus more on the physical side of sexual health. Your women’s healthcare provider can help you maintain sexual health by performing regular exams and screenings. They can also provide care when issues arise.
Sexual Health Screenings
It’s important to see your women’s healthcare provider regularly to maintain your sexual health. See them for your annual exam and follow their recommendations on when you need to get cancer screenings or other tests based on your age, history, and current lifestyle. Everyone is different, so not all women need the same screenings with the same frequency.
If you are sexually active, it’s important that you get tested for STDs. The following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outline how often women should get sexual health screenings for STDs:
- All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV
- All sexually active women under the age of 25 should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year
- Women 25 and older with risk factors like new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner with an STD should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year
- All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B in early pregnancy
- At-risk pregnant women should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea
Click here to see other recommendations based on your age and history.
If you have any questions about getting screened for STDs, talk to your women’s healthcare provider. They can help you determine which screenings you need to get and when.
Sexual dysfunction refers to any issue that prevents you from wanting to have sex or enjoying sexual activity. These issues are not specific to any age, gender, or sexual preference. Sexual dysfunction can occur in people of all ages and genders. Common sexual dysfunctions among women include:
- Low sex drive: Lack of sexual interest and desire
- Sexual arousal disorder: Difficulty becoming aroused or maintaining arousal
- Orgasmic disorder: Recurrent or persistent difficulty in achieving orgasm
- Sexual pain disorder: Pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact
If you’re experiencing any of the above problems or you have other issues that are affecting your sex life, talk to your OB/GYN or FNP. They can help you determine the cause of any sexual health issues and come up with a treatment plan to resolve them. If you need additional help with any issue, they may also be able to provide you with a referral to a specialist or share resources that may be helpful.
Contact Raleigh OB/GYN Centre
The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Raleigh OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of the Raleigh, NC area. If you have questions or concerns about sexual health, call our office at (919) 876-8225 to make an appointment.