The topic of sex is a frequent and important topic of conversation amongst my patients. Typically, patients find it difficult to discuss sex, impediments to sex and sexual dysfunction with their doctors. But because it is an integral part of the field of Proctology, I like to start the discussion with my patients during their first office visit, letting them know that they are in a safe, non-judgmental space, free to ask any questions they have regarding sex. In fact, my intake questionnaire asks “Do you have sex with Men, Women, or Both?” Often times, patients leave this question blank because they feel uncomfortable. However, after we discuss this together, they feel relieved and begin to ask a variety of questions regarding sex.
Some of my patients are concerned about sexual health and would like to be screened for sexually transmitted disease, such as HPV or Human Papilloma Virus, HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus, HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus; while others feel uncomfortable during sex, whether it be caused by pelvic pain, rectal pain or vaginal pain. Other patients have questions regarding the cosmetic appearance of their anal opening during sex, and have felt timid and uncomfortable bringing it up to their past doctors and are looking for a solution to improve the cosmetic appearance of their anal opening and buttocks, whether it be due to an unsightly anal skin tag or buttocks acne that they just can’t get rid of despite their many attempts.
As you can see, a complete sexual history is vital to determine the risk for many conditions. For example, HPV or Human Papilloma Virus, can cause anal dysplasia, which may lead to anal cancer. HPV is most often spread through genital skin-to-skin contact. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that “half of all sexually active people will get an STD by age 25. These diseases can be passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact and sexual activity. While anyone who has sex can get an STD, sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk. In addition to having higher rates of syphilis, more than half of all new HIV infections occur among MSM.”
So, start the conversation with your doctor, you will be happy you did! It is important for your doctor to have a thorough knowledge of your sexual history so that he/she can maintain your optimal health.
Contact the Los Angeles and Orange County Proctology Institute and make an appointment in one of our locations in Beverly Hills, Newport Beach or Huntington Beach today.