A recent study shows coming out to supportive parents is good for your health.
I know my health drastically improved once I came out.
Before coming out, I had debilitating abdominal pain (sphincter of Oddi dysfunction), made worse by (you guessed it) stress. I was depressed. And confused. Worst of all, I wasn't sharing with the world, or myself, who I knew I really was. Read More
Does the WSW population have a higher rate of substance abuse than the general population?
This is an excellent question and one that needs more research to accurately answer. However, it is believed that women of sexual minority do,in fact, have a higher rate of substance abuse than the general population.
Higher substance abuse rates among sexual minority women makes sense given the social stigma, marginalization, and discrimination of the population in our society. Read More
How to do a Self Breast Exam
Along with many other health care providers, I believe self breast exams (SBE)s are an important part of breast health.
Self breast exams, along with mammography, are often the reason women are able to find and treat breast cancers.
Most women only get clinical breast exams done by their health care providers once a year with their annual exam. So it's important for women to be checking their own breasts on a regular basis in between breast exams done by your health care provider. Read More
What is Bacterial Vaginosis and why do my partner and I keep getting it?
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. BV is not traditionally considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) but it is commonly found in women who have sex with women (WSW) and can be transmitted between two women.
The vagina naturally has many bacteria residing in it and the balance (flora) of them are all in harmony. With BV, one kind of bacteria (usually Gardnerella) overgrows and changes the natural pH of the vagina, making it more alkaline. Read More
Is there a higher risk/incidence of breast cancer in Sexual Minority Women?
This is an excellent question and one that has an uncertain answer. First of all, there is little reliable research available to answer this question with confidence. But, it may be true that women of sexual minority have a higher risk or incidence of breast cancer, compared to that of a heterosexual woman.
According to Susan Komen for the Cure, it is estimated that in 2013, 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 64,640 new cases of in situ breast cancer will be diagnosed. Breast cancer is a big risk for women, and less so, for men. It is a difficult and oftentimes devastating diagnosis. Read More
When used in health care, cultural safety is a way of providing a safe space for your patients to feel they are seen and affirmed for who they are. A safe environment for a patient provides an ideal space for healing, growth, and wellness. In the company of my graduate committee, I developed a framework consisting of 4 elements for providers to approach cultural safety. The elements are: reflection, environment, language, and knowledge. I envision them as a Venn diagram. Each element in and of itself is wonderful. But at the center, where the four elements all intersect, is where true cultural safety is, and it cannot exist without all the elements present at once. Read More
Human Papillomavirus and the WSW Population
Genital Human papillomavirus or HPV, is a virus that is responsible for most cervical cancers and genital warts.It is also the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC also states that HPV can be responsible for throat cancers and cancer of the genitals and anus.
Genital warts often are visible, but the more serious cervical cancer caused by HPV shows no symptoms most of the time unless it's detected early with a PAP smear. Read More
I swore I’d never be that kind of gay.
I finally came out of the closet in my early 20s when I decided the pain of being in the closet was far worse than the risk of coming out.
I was raised in a small town (that I still live in) with a strict religion, and was surrounded by people I’d grown up around. I was always taught that homosexuality was a sin. One of the very worst kinds.
So I tried. For years, I tried. To not be gay. Read More
You're a WSW woman who's looking for a new health care clinic, or you're visiting a new new clinic for the first time. How safe are you to be OUT? How can you know?
Hopefully this won't even be an issue for you. However, if it is, here are 5 clues as to whether or not your provider and/or clinic is safe and affirming toward gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, intersex, transgender, and queer women, or women who identify as straight and have sex with women. Read More