Doctors should ask patients more about sexual health concerns

Monday 27th September, 2010

The British Society for Sexual Health (BSSM) has called for men and women to be asked about sexual concerns during medical consultations.

By asking patients about their sexual health, the BSSM believe GPs and clinicians could gain more insight into social problems that may be occurring as well as giving an early warning of more serious health problems.

Experts also believe that significant savings could be made where patients are currently prescribed expensive drugs which don’t tackle their underlying problem.

Viagra is one such drug that is being over-prescribed. More than half of patients prescribed Viagra found their problems are not solved adequately.

Erectile dysfunction is a recognised early warning signal to coronary artery problems and by routinely asking men about sexual health conditions such this, it could help prevent potential heart problems from developing. The condition is also related to low testosterone which carries an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Professor Kevan Wylie, the BSSM’s lead author of new guidelines to medical staff, stressed that diagnosis is not just related to physical problems.

“If people have the opportunity to talk about this, they may say this is affecting my relationship, that’s a huge issue for society as a whole, the break-up of relationships.

“The importance of sex life and sexual function to general health and well-being is not often discussed or acknowledged in our society,” said Professor Wylie.

The BSSM has recommended men are asked about any sexual concerns during general health checks while women could be asked during routine contraceptive appointments, smear tests, menopausal assessment or postnatal checks.



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