Doctors urged to provide better care to middle aged lesbians
A medical essay urges healthcare professionals to provide better care to lesbians, particularly those in middle age.
The essay by Drs Jordan E Rullo and Stephanie S Faubion at the Mayo CLinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Titled ‘Menopause’, the essay says that lesbians are more likely to seek medial help from professionals who provide care for their specific needs.
“Clinicians who have an understanding of lesbian women and their unique stressors, who provide a welcoming and inclusive environment, and who provide cross-cultural care are well positioned to reduce healthcare stigma and improve clinical outcomes,” the paper reads.
In the essay, the doctors note that LGBT+ people have some crossover with the general population when it comes to healthcare and sexual relationships.
But they go on to say that they have “higher rates of substance use, psychological disorders, and suicide attempts than their heterosexual counterparts.”
The essay also notes higher rates of smoking and obesity in lesbians compared to straight women.
But they are also less likely to have recently had a mammogram done or to have regular cervical cancer screenings.
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The paper urges healthcare professionals to not assume the gender of the patient or the gender of their sexual partners.
It also says doctors should bear in mind that lesbians might be at higher risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes as well as breast and cervical cancer.
The paper specifically notes that lesbians may have a higher prevalence of cervical cancer than straight women.
It goes on to say that education is key, particularly when it comes to HPV, HIV and bacterial vaginosis.
Regular treatment and assessment of anxiety, depression and substance abuse is also strongly recommended.
The authors suggested that healthcare professionals should be more inclusive by using resources from the American Medical Association, the Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, the Healthcare Equality Index 2017 and the National LGBT Health Education Center.
Last year a study found that LGB people were struggling to find adequate healthcare.