Healthwise

Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Category: Sexual health

Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is a disease that occurs when the cells that normally line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall. It occurs most often in women older than 30 who have had a full-term pregnancy. It is rare in women who have not had...

Antiretroviral medicines for HIV
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the...

Arrhythmias and Sexual Activity
If you have an arrhythmia and your doctor says that it's okay for you to do moderate activity, like brisk walking, then it's probably safe for you to have sex. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor. Your doctor can check the health of your heart...

Biopsy of Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
Your doctor may take a sample, or biopsy, of abnormal tissue. The majority of warts do not require a biopsy. But a biopsy may be taken if genital warts cannot be easily identified with a physical exam or during a gynecology exam with a lighted...

Birth Control: Myths About Sex and Pregnancy
Several myths about when a woman can or cannot become pregnant persist, particularly among younger people. Myth Truth You can't get pregnant the first time you have vaginal intercourse. Getting pregnant has nothing to do with how many times you have...

Body Image After Cancer Treatment
How you feel about your body (your body image) may change when you have cancer. It is common to feel angry, frustrated, or disappointed after cancer surgery or during treatment for cancer. And it may be hard to adjust. Changes that may affect a...

COPD and Sex
For many people, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) gets in the way of sex. Being out of breath makes things difficult. Just thinking about it can make you want to avoid sex. But it doesn't have to be like that. To start, think through...

Chlamydia Tests
Chlamydia tests use a sample of body fluid or urine to see whether chlamydia bacteria ( Chlamydia trachomatis) are present and causing an infection. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States....

Common Questions About Sexual Orientation
Many people believe things that aren't true about gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Here are some questions people sometimes have. Question:Can gay, lesbian, and bisexual people change their sexual orientation? Can they get some kind of treatment?...

Congenital Syphilis
Congenital syphilis occurs when a mother's syphilis goes untreated during pregnancy and is passed to the baby through the placenta. A baby can also become infected with syphilis during labor or delivery. The risk of infecting the baby is greatest...

Cryotherapy (Cryosurgery) for Genital Warts
Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. A doctor applies liquid nitrogen to and around the warts. First, the tissue is frozen with liquid nitrogen. Then, the tissue is allowed to thaw. The tissue is...

Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods
This table compares how well different birth control methods work. The column on the right shows how many women out of 100 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method. These numbers reflect studies of real-life usage. You...

Electrocautery for Genital Warts
Electrocautery removes genital warts on the penis, vulva, or around the anus by burning them with a low-voltage electrified probe. Electrocautery is usually done in a doctor's office or a clinic. The injection of a numbing medicine (local...

Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction)
A man has erection problems if he cannot get or keep an erection that is firm enough for him to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence. Most men have erection problems every now and then. This is normal. These...

Erection Problems: Relationships and Life Events Matter
Looking at events in your life, your relationships, and your feelings can often help you figure out things that may contribute to erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Review the following events and concerns. Did your erection problems begin at...

Erection Problems: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take medicines (Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra) for erection problems. Explains erectile dysfunction and what causes it. Lists risks and benefits of medicines. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?
Guides through decision to try injection treatment for erection problems. Lists common causes of erection problems. Includes information about types of injections used. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Erection Problems: Talking With Your Partner
Talking with your partner may help your erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Couples often assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex. Sometimes they are wrong. Don't assume. Tell your partner what you do and...

Fallopian Tube Procedures for Infertility
A fallopian tube blockage typically prevents successful passage of the egg to the sperm, or the fertilized egg to the uterus. Surgery can be used to try to correct this common cause of infertility. The specific type of surgery depends on the...

Female Genital Problems and Injuries
Most women experience minor vaginal problems from time to time. These problems can be related to menstrual cycles, sex, infection, birth control methods, aging, medicines, or changes after pregnancy. A change in your normal vaginal discharge may be...

Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome
Fitz-Hugh–Curtis syndrome occurs when pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causes inflammation of the capsule covering the liver and the area around it. It causes pain in the upper right belly. This syndrome happens when bacteria enter the abdominal...

Gender Dysphoria
Gender identity is your inner sense of being male, female, both, neither, or some other gender. When you are transgender, this feeling doesn't match the sex that you were assigned at birth. Dysphoria means feeling distressed or uneasy. Gender...

Gender Identity and Transgender Issues
Gender identity is your inner sense of being male, female, both, neither, or some other gender. When you are transgender, this feeling doesn't match the sex that you were assigned at birth. The feeling that something is different may begin early in...

Genital Self-Examination
A genital self-exam is a simple examination you can give yourself to become familiar with what is normal for you and to see if you have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Look for any areas of redness, sores, bumps, warts, or...

Getting Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control
The amount of time it takes for a woman's full fertility to return after stopping birth control varies for each woman and depends on the birth control method she is using. Your ability to get pregnant gradually decreases as you age, starting at age...

Gonorrhea Test
Gonorrhea tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for the bacterium, or germ, that causes gonorrhea. Testing is done on body fluid or urine samples. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual...

HPV: Should I Get the Vaccine?
Guides through decision to get the HPV vaccine. Explains the vaccination process. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Heart Failure and Sexual Activity
Sex is part of a healthy life and is part of your quality of life. Most people with heart failure can still have an active sex life. If you have mild heart failure, your doctor will likely say that sex is safe for your heart. If you have more severe...

Herpes Tests
Herpes tests are done to find the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An HSV infection can cause small, painful sores that look like blisters on the skin or the tissue lining (mucous membranes) of the throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and vagina. A...

High-Risk Sexual Behavior
High-risk sexual behavior puts people at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, and being in a sexual relationship before being mature enough to know what makes a healthy relationship. Teens and young adults are at...

Hormonal Factors in Erection Problems
Hormonal factors may play a role in erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Men who produce low levels of the hormone testosterone (a condition known as hypogonadism) may have decreased sexual desire. A blood test is usually done if your...

How Erections Occur
An erection occurs when your imagination or one or more of the senses (vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste) are stimulated and you become aroused. Your central nervous system sends nerve impulses that increase blood flow to your penis. The...

How Pregnancy (Conception) Occurs
Most women are able to become pregnant from puberty, when their menstrual cycles begin, until menopause, when their cycles stop. A pregnancy starts with fertilization, when a woman's egg joins with a man's sperm. Fertilization usually takes place in...

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Test
A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test detects HIV antibodies or antigens, or the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of HIV in the blood or another type of sample. This determines whether an HIV infection is present (HIV-positive). HIV infects white...

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to check for a high-risk HPV infection in women. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An HPV test checks for the genetic material (DNA) of the human papillomavirus. Like a Pap test, an HPV test is...

Hysterectomy: Concerns About Sex
Many women are concerned about the effect a hysterectomy may have on their ability to enjoy sexual relationships. Before your surgery, talk with your partner about your concerns about sex after your hysterectomy. Find out about your...

Infertility Tests
Infertility tests are done to help find out why a woman cannot become pregnant. The tests help find whether the problem is with the man, the woman, or both. Tests usually include a physical exam, semen analysis, blood tests, and special procedures....

Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis
Discusses laparoscopy to diagnose and remove mild to moderate endometriosis. Covers why it is done and what to expect after surgery. Includes how well laparoscopic surgery works and possible risks. Discusses infertility.

Laser Surgery for Genital Warts
A laser can be used to destroy genital warts. Laser surgery may be done in a doctor's office or clinic, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. Local or general anesthetic may be used depending on the number of warts to be removed or the size...

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Genital Warts
The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to remove genital warts by heating the margin of the area to be removed, which separates the wart from the skin. LEEP is done in a doctor's office,...

Low Back Pain and Sex
Healthy, satisfying sex is very important for relationships. And the fear of having sex because of back pain can be a big problem. If your sex life has suffered because of back pain, take heart. Many people have faced this problem. And there are...

Medical and Other Transition Options for Transgender People
Gender identity is your inner sense of being male, female, both, neither, or some other gender. When you are transgender, this feeling doesn't match the sex that you were assigned at birth. The process for recognizing, accepting, and expressing your...

Military Sexual Trauma
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines military sexual trauma (MST) as experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment. These traumas occur when a person is in the military. The...

Molluscum Contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection that causes small pearly or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps may be clear, and the center often is indented. The infection is caused by a virus. The virus is easily spread but is not harmful. The bumps are...

Myomectomy
Discusses surgical removal of fibroids from uterus. Covers hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, and laparotomy. Looks at what to expect after surgery and how well it works. Explains possible risks. Discusses hysterectomy, infertility, and miscarriage.

Neurosyphilis
Neurosyphilis refers to the infection of the brain and spinal cord by the syphilis bacteria. This can lead to destruction in many areas of the nervous system, causing loss of function of a person's arms or legs, loss of vision, and altered mental...

Normal Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman's body goes through to prepare for a pregnancy. About once a month, the uterus grows a new lining (endometrium) to get ready for a fertilized egg. When there is no fertilized egg to start a...

Other Health Problems Caused by Herpes Simplex Virus
If the herpes simplex virus (HSV) invades a part of the body other than the genital area, it may cause disease in that part of the body. In general, complications are rare. And they usually occur with the first-time (primary) genital herpes...

Pelvic Examination
Discusses complete physical exam of a woman's pelvic organs by a health professional. Includes info on exam of vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Explains how exam is done. Discusses speculum, stirrups, Pap test, and reproductive health problems.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Tubo-Ovarian Abscess
A pocket of pus that forms during an infection of a fallopian tube and ovary is called a tubo-ovarian abscess. Tubo-ovarian abscesses can develop in women who have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A tubo-ovarian abscess is usually diagnosed by...

Penile Implants for Erection Problems
Penile implants to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction) are either semirigid (noninflatable) or inflatable cylinders that replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an erection. The...

Peyronie's Disease
Peyronie's disease is an abnormal curvature of the penis caused by scar tissue in the erectile tissue. Because the scar tissue prevents straightening of the penis, the curvature is most obvious during an erection. The curvature may be so severe that...

Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack
Sex is part of a healthy life and part of your quality of life. It is safe for most people after they have had a heart attack. After a heart attack, you can resume sexual activity when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you...

STI Testing: Should I Get Tested for a Sexually Transmitted Infection?
Guides through the decision to be screened for sexually transmitted infections. Explains STIs and discusses causes and lifestyles that put you at higher risk for getting infected. Covers benefits and risks of testing. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

Semen Analysis
Discusses test that evaluates sperm to see if there are fertility problems or if a vasectomy worked. Covers how the test is done and how to prepare. Discusses what results may mean. Lists factors like medicines or activities that may affect the test.

Sex After Childbirth
For a while after childbirth, don't be surprised if you have little interest in sex. Physical recovery, exhaustion, and hormonal changes often affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman's experience is different. Together, you and your partner...

Sex Therapy for Erection Problems
Sex therapy may be helpful for some men who have erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Sex therapy doesn't involve having sex with or in front of the sex therapist. Also, isn't long-term or open-ended therapy. It usually involves working with a...

Sex and Your Heart
Sex is part of a healthy life. And it can be safe for people who have heart problems. But some of these people may worry about having sex. Or they may have problems having sex or enjoying sex. If you are having sexual problems, talk with your...

Sexual Health
Has info on female and male genital problems, birth control, and STI testing. Also links to topics on exposure to STIs and sexuality/physical changes with aging.

Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation means how you are attracted romantically and sexually to other people. There are different kinds of sexual orientation. For example, a person may be: Heterosexual—attracted only or almost only to the other binary (male/female)...

Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are some of the most widespread infections both in the United States and the world. STIs affect both men and women, and two-thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25. Exposure to an STI can occur any...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Genital Exam for Men
During a male genital exam for sexually transmitted infections, the doctor: Looks for discharge from the penis. The doctor may put a thin swab into the urethra and take a sample of fluid and cells to test for infections such as chlamydia or...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Symptoms in Women
If you develop symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to be evaluated by a health professional soon after your symptoms start. Symptoms of an STI include: A change in vaginal discharge (thicker, discolored, or...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Treatment
Treatment is available for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), no matter what the cause, to relieve symptoms, even if a cure is not possible. Some, but not all, STIs are treated with antibiotics. Some of the most common STIs—chlamydia,...

Spinal Cord Injury: Sensual Exercises
Sensual exercises may help you enjoy sexual intimacy and find satisfaction after a spinal cord injury (SCI). You may find that your old methods of finding satisfaction still work or that they no longer do. Doing sensual exercises with your partner...

Spinal Cord Injury: Talking With Your Partner About Sex
Talking with your partner may help your sexual function, whether it be erection problems for men or lack of arousal for women. Couples often wrongly assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex, but likes and dislikes...

Stages of Syphilis
Syphilis is described in terms of its four stages: primary, secondary, latent (hidden), and tertiary (late). During the primary stage, a sore ( chancre) that is usually painless develops at the site where the bacteria entered the body. This commonly...

Surgical Removal of Genital Warts by Excision
Visible genital warts on the penis or vagina or around the anus are removed by excision, which means cutting the warts off with a surgical knife (scalpel). Warts on the cervix may be removed by laser or loop electrosurgical excision (LEEP). The...

Symptoms of Pelvic Infection
Abnormal vaginal bleeding with fever may be caused by an infection in the pelvic organs. During your period, bacteria can travel up the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause an infection. This is more common during menstruation but...

Syphilis Tests
Syphilis tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for antibodies to the bacterium, or germ, that causes syphilis. Some tests look for the syphilis germ itself. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through...

Testosterone
A testosterone test checks the level of this male hormone (androgen) in the blood. Testosterone affects sexual features and development. In men, it is made in large amounts by the testicles. In both men and women, testosterone is made in small...

Tests for Bacterial Vaginosis
Tests for bacterial vaginosis take samples of fluid from the vagina. The samples are looked at under a microscope to see if they show signs of infection. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by a change in the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Normally,...

Tests for Erection Problems
Tests for erection problems can help find out why a man can't have or maintain an erection. This problem is called erectile dysfunction, or impotence. It's a common male problem. Most erection problems are caused by a mix of blood vessel, nerve, or...

Tubal Ligation Reversal
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed to prevent her eggs from traveling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they could be fertilized by a sperm. Tubal ligation is a highly...

Vacuum Devices for Erection Problems
A vacuum device, which is sometimes used to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction), is a tube made of plastic that fits around the penis. You coat the base of the penis with lubricant and insert the penis into the tube. Air is pumped out of...

Vaginal Rashes and Sores
A rash in your vaginal area (vulva) may be caused by irritation of the skin from many sources, such as clothes rubbing against the skin. Rashes that occur without other symptoms are usually minor and often go away with home treatment. A common...

Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE)
A vaginal self-examination is a way for a woman to look at her vulva and vagina. A vaginal self-examination may help you better understand your body, the changes that take place during the menstrual cycle, and any problems that may need medical...

Vaginal Yeast Infections
Discusses infection caused by overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast that normally lives in the vagina. Covers symptoms like itching or soreness in vagina or burning when you urinate or have sex. Looks at treatment with medicines like Monistat.

Varicocele Repair for Infertility
Looks at repairing varicoceles, which are enlarged varicose veins in the scrotum. Explains that varicocele repair is done to improve male fertility. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Also covers risks.

Your Teen's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Teens want an answer to the eternal question, "Who am I?" Part of the answer lies in their sexual self. The teen years can be a confusing time. Hormones, cultural and peer pressures, and fear of being different can cause many teens to question...