Women's Health

Category: Sexual health

Adenomyosis
What is adenomyosis? Adenomyosis is a disease that occurs when the cells that normally line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall. This can cause painful, heavy periods and chronic pelvic pain. What causes it? The cause of adenomyosis is not fully understood. Some researchers believe that it is...

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 information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Arrhythmias and Sexual Activity
Is it safe for you to have sex? 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 and help you know if it's safe to have...

Bacterial Vaginosis Tests
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 can happen when certain types of bacteria that are normally in the vagina overgrow. It doesn't always cause symptoms. But the most common symptom...

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 magnifying instrument ( colposcopy). A microscopic exam on the biopsied...

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 person's body image include: Losing a breast because of breast cancer...

COPD and Sex
Here are some ideas for making the most of your intimate time with your partner. Think about what could help you be more comfortable. Share your thoughts with your partner, and come up with solutions together. Be well rested before having sex. Choose the time of day when you have more energy and when breathing is...

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. Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) are used to find chlamydia infection. These tests use a sample of body fluid from areas such as the cervix, vagina, eyes, rectum, or...

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? Answer: Like heterosexuals, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people don't...

Congenital Syphilis
Congenital syphilis occurs when syphilis isn't treated during pregnancy and is passed to the baby through the placenta. A baby can be infected with syphilis any time during pregnancy or during labor or delivery. It's very important to have a blood test to detect syphilis while you're pregnant. Treating it during...

Cryotherapy for Genital Warts
Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them. A doctor applies a very cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, around the warts to freeze them. You may have a mild or moderate burning sensation during treatment.

Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods
These tables compare how well different birth control methods work. They show 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 can improve on the real-life failure rate of birth control methods by always using birth...

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 anesthetic) is usually used for pain control. Medicine that causes...

Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction)
What are erection problems? You have erection problems if you can't get or keep an erection that is firm enough for you to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence. They are more common as you get older. But there are treatments that can help. What causes them? Erection problems may...

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). It can also help to know if you can achieve an erection by yourself but have trouble when with a partner. Review the following events and concerns...

Erection Problems: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take oral medicines 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 Inserted or Injected Medicines?
Guides through decision to try medicines inserted or injected into the penis for erection problems. Lists common causes of erection problems. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Fallopian Tube Procedures for Infertility
A fallopian tube blockage often 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. What type of surgery you have depends on where and how much the fallopian tube is blocked. Some tubal procedures can be done...

Female Genital Problems and Injuries
Briefly discusses causes of female genital problems and injuries, including pelvic pain, vulvar problems, rashes, and infections. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Fertility Awareness
Discusses natural family planning or periodic abstinence as a form of birth control. Covers using one of six basic methods to either get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant. Covers how each method works and what could affect the method.

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 cavity through the fallopian tubes. They then follow the flow of...

Gender Identity Issues: Getting Support
Gender identity is your inner sense of being male, female, both, neither, or another gender. For some people, their gender identity doesn't match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most children start to identify their gender around age 3. Many transgender and gender-diverse adults remember feeling at a young age that...

Getting Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control
How long it takes for a woman's full fertility to return after stopping birth control varies for each woman. It also depends on the birth control method she is using. Your ability to get pregnant gradually decreases as you age, starting at age 25. After you stop any form of birth control, you may have a harder time...

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 contact. It does not always cause symptoms. Tests used to find a gonorrhea...

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. You can ask your doctor to help you know if or when it's okay for you to have sex. If you or your partner is worried about having sex, talk with your doctor about your concerns. Your...

Herpes Tests
A herpes simplex virus (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. In rare cases, HSV can infect other parts of the body, such as the eyes and the brain. HSV tests are most often done...

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 a fallopian tube that links an ovary to the uterus. If the fertilized...

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 can show if an HIV infection is present (HIV-positive). HIV infects white blood cells called CD4+ cells. They are part of the body's immune system that...

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test of the Cervix
A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to check for a high-risk HPV infection. Like a Pap test, an HPV test is done on a sample of cells collected from the cervix. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An HPV test checks for the genetic material ( DNA) of the human papillomavirus. This test is used to show...

Infertility Tests
What are 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. Should I be tested? Before you have...

Interactive Tool: When Are You Most Fertile?
Offers interactive tool to find out when you are most likely to get pregnant. Tool estimates peak fertility period and when you are most likely to ovulate. Offers links to info on fertility, pregnancy, and birth control.

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. Which one you get depends on how many warts need treatment and the size of the area to be treated.

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, clinic, or hospital on an outpatient basis. A local anesthetic is injected...

Military Sexual Trauma
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines military sexual trauma (MST) as experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment. These traumas occur when a person is in the military. The location, the genders of the people involved, and their relationship do not matter. Sexual harassment may include: A put-down...

Molluscum Contagiosum
What is 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. This infection is most common in children, especially...

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 abilities. Neurosyphilis can affect many different body systems and may...

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 outbreak. Some of these complications include: Meningitis, an infection of the...

Pelvic Exam
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 tubo-ovarian abscess is a pocket of pus that forms during an infection of a fallopian tube and ovary. This abscess is often caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A tubo-ovarian abscess is usually diagnosed with a physical exam and pelvic ultrasound. Some abscesses are found by using surgery ( laparoscopy or...

Penile Implants for Erection Problems
Penile implants to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction) are either noninflatable (malleable) or inflatable cylinders. They replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an erection. The implants come in a variety of diameters and lengths. Noninflatable implants...

Peyronie's Disease
What is 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 cause pain for the person or their partner, or it may be so...

Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack
When can I have sex again? 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 can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk...

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 can connect emotionally and physically by knowing ahead of time what is...

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 therapist who recommends gradual steps to change sexual behavior. Sex...

Sex and Your Heart
Sex is part of a healthy life. It can be safe for people who have a heart problem. But some 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 doctor. Your doctor can help you get information, support, and advice so you can enjoy sex...

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) gender. "Binary" is the idea that there are only two genders, male and...

Sexual Problems: How to Talk With Your Partner
Talking with your partner may help your sexual function. 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 does and doesn't give you pleasure. Make time outside of the bedroom to talk about your sex life together...

Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening
Guidelines for chlamydia The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends chlamydia testing for all sexually active women ages 24 and younger. The USPSTF also recommends testing for women older than 24 with high-risk sexual behaviors. The task force does not state how often to be screened. The Centers for...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: How a Male Genital Exam Is Done
During this exam for sexually transmitted infections, the doctor: Looks for discharge from your 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 gonorrhea. Checks your testicles for swelling and tenderness. May look at the end of your...

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 bad-smelling) over a period of several days to 2 weeks. Pain, burning, or itching...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Treatment
Treatment is available for all STIs. The kind of treatment depends on the STI. Some STIs can go away with treatment. Other STIs can be treated to relieve symptoms. But treatment won't make them go away. Some of the most common STIs—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are caused by bacteria. These STIs are treated with...

Spinal Cord Injury: Talking With Your Partner About Sex
Talking with your partner may help your sexual function. Couples often wrongly assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex. But likes and dislikes may change after a spinal cord injury. Be honest about how the SCI has affected your sexual function and how you feel about it. Here are some...

Stages of Syphilis
Syphilis develops in four stages. Each stage has a different set of symptoms. Primary stage During the primary stage of syphilis, one or more sores (chancres) form at the site where the bacteria entered the body. This often occurs within 3 weeks of exposure but can range from 10 to 90 days. A person is highly contagious...

Surgical Removal of Genital Warts by Excision
Visible genital warts on the penis or vagina or around the anus can be removed by excision. This means cutting off the warts with a surgical knife (scalpel). Warts on the cervix may be removed by laser or loop electrosurgical excision (LEEP). The procedure is usually done in a doctor's office or clinic or an outpatient...

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 can occur at any time during your menstrual cycle. Symptoms of pelvic...

Syphilis Tests
Syphilis tests are done to check for a syphilis infection. They look for antibodies to the bacteria that cause syphilis. Some tests look for the syphilis bacteria. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual contact: vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also spread to the fetus of...

Testosterone
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 information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Testosterone Test
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 amounts by the adrenal glands, and in women, by the ovaries. The pituitary...

Tests for Erection Problems
Tests for erection problems can help you find out why you can't have or maintain an erection. This problem is called erectile dysfunction, or impotence. It's a common problem. Most erection problems are caused by a mix of blood vessel, nerve, or psychological issues. To find the cause, your doctor will first ask about...

Tubal Ligation Reversal
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which your fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed. It's done to prevent your eggs from traveling from your ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they could be fertilized by a sperm. Tubal ligation is a highly effective form of birth control that is almost always...

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 the tube, which creates a vacuum. The vacuum helps blood flow into the...

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. Contact dermatitis A common cause of a rash is contact with a substance that causes...

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 attention. The best time to do a vaginal self-examination is between your...

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 Surgery
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.

Ways HIV Cannot Be Spread
HIV does not survive well outside the body. HIV cannot be spread from one person to another in any of the following ways: Casual contact In studies of hundreds of households in which families have lived with and cared for people who have AIDS, including situations in which no one knew that the person was HIV-infected...

Your Teen's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
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) gender. "Binary" is the idea that there are only two...