10 things lesbians should discuss with health care providers

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) has listed 10 health care concerns lesbians should include in discussions with their physicians or other health care providers.

The medical group ranks breast cancer as the top priority. Other necessary topics include depression, gynecological cancer, diet and osteoporosis.

“Many lesbians and far too many health professionals are not comfortable or do not know how to discuss health issues related to sexual orientation,” said GLMA Executive Director Maureen S. O’Leary.

Unfortunately, there are some health risks that are of greater concern to lesbians, and we need to make sure they are addressed.”

“We know from research,” said O’Hanlan, “that lesbians are less likely to seek medical care than other women because of the stigma they experience everywhere in society.

They also experience it when they go for medical care. Health care providers may feel uncomfortable asking questions they feel to be personal. They then limit their visit and dash out without counselling the patient.

Lesbian health concerns included in this article are;

1. Breast cancer
2. Depression/anxiety
3. Gynecological cancer
4. Fitness
5. Substance use
6. Tobacco
7. Alcohol and Drugs
8. Domestic violence
9. Osteoporosis
10. Heart health

O’Leary added, “Of course — and it is important to repeat — many of the health concerns for lesbians are the same as they are for other women.

But we must have a medical community that understands that there are cultural issues — orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, race, economic status — that must be understood as well. For lesbians, the “10 Things” list is a place to start.”

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