Sexual Health Archive


When sex hurts

Three-quarters of women experience painful sex at some point, and up to six in 10 report painful sex during the transition to menopause and beyond. Childbirth, menopause, and a condition called hypertonic pelvic floor contribute play a role in many cases of painful sex, though other health problems and treatments can contribute as well. Treatment options include lubricants, vaginal moisturizers, vaginal estrogen, and pelvic floor physical therapy.

How do I approach a new partner about STI testing?

Discussing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the start of a new relationship can protect both partners' health. Many STIs don't cause symptoms. Couples can test for STIs together or separately and share results before becoming intimate.

Straight talk about Peyronie's disease

Peyronie's disease, a condition marked by extreme curvature of the penis, affects about 3% to 10% of men, usually between the ages of 45 and 60, but also can occur in men older than 60. There is no cure for Peyronie's, and the condition often does not improve on its own, but in mild cases men can maintain a regular sex life. If the curvature is severe, making erections or intercourse painful, treatment may help. Options include traction therapy, drug injections, and surgery.

You don't say? The smell of love

Pheromones, the "love chemical," are produced by many animals and insects to attract the opposite sex. It's possible that humans also may make and process pheromones through vomeronasal organs in our noses.

Sex and prostate health

Sexual side effects can be a primary concern when treating an enlarged prostate with medication or surgery. Depending on the treatment, side effects might include erectile dysfunction, low libido, reduced volume of ejaculation, or retrograde ejaculation, (in which semen travels backward into the bladder rather than out through the penis). Understanding the risks can help men with their treatment decision and to be better prepared if any sexual-related problems arise.

Did I cause my partner's bladder infection?

While a man cannot directly give his female partner a bladder infection, he can increase her risk with vigorous or frequent sexual intercourse.

Bladder problems that warrant a doctor's visit

Bladder problems in women can increase due to childbirth, menopause, and aging. Additional contributors to bladder symptoms include weight gain, pelvic organ prolapse, and the types of beverages people drink, as well as how much and how often. Women should see a doctor about increasing leakage, urgency, frequency, or nighttime urination; cloudy or strong-smelling urine; pain or burning while urinating; pain during sex; or lower abdominal pain.

What's the best way to test for low testosterone?

A blood test for total testosterone is the usual first step in men concerned about low T levels. The best time to get tested is between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Should I use vaginal probiotics?

Vaginal probiotics contain live microorganisms and come in oral and suppository forms. Some ads claim these products can prevent or treat infections. But the vagina regulates its own bacterial mix, so vaginal probiotics aren't necessary.

What symptoms should I report to my gynecologist?

Women with unusual pelvic or vaginal symptoms should report them to their gynecologist. These symptoms include vaginal odor, itching, or burning; menstrual changes; pelvic pain or discomfort; or new bleeding.

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