A definition of terms. What do the terms bisexual and lesbian mean?
For the purposes of this article and for general knowledge it is good to define the terms ‘bisexual’ and ‘lesbian.’ It is generally known and accepted that a bisexual is an individual who prefers sexual relations with both male and female. A lesbian is generally accepted to be a woman who prefers sexual relations with women. These terms are still admittedly generalizations at best and still do not encompass a whole range of other considerations like fantasy, culture, total sexuality and the like. However for the purposes of information and clarity in this article, they will be used as such.
Introduction to potential medical challenges of bisexuals and lesbians.
Sexual orientation should never be a block to receiving medical care and attention. This being said, there are many difficult challenges that bisexual women and lesbians face with regards to getting proper medical care. Overall, they face many of the same medical issues that straight or heterosexual women would face. This is because of their shared female physiology and general biology. However having a different sexual orientation can provide barriers to proper medical care in some ways.
The proper patient-physician relationship.
To minimize this, the attending physician must immediately establish a healthy patient-physician relationship free of any bias and with an overall therapeutic climate. The potential barriers must be immediately be acknowledged and identified. These potential barriers are as follows;
- Hesitancy on the part of the physician to probe and examine the patient’s sexual activities and practices. The physician must be able to freely inquire about the patient’s sexual practices so as to identify and diagnose any potential health risks.
- A hesitancy on the patient’s part to disclose her sexual practices. Sometimes, the patient may feel a sense of shame or hesitancy to reveal her sexual practices because of her sexual orientation and a perceived bias towards it. This should be discouraged and openness and tolerance encouraged instead.
Potential health-risks and issues bisexuals and lesbians face.
Physicians must also be aware that bisexuals and lesbians may face some health risks. With the right awareness of these health risks they can recommend the right tests and make the proper diagnosis. Because of their sexual orientation and the pressures of society some bisexuals and lesbians may be more at risk to suicide and depression. This becomes especially higher if they have reservations about coming out about their sexual orientation, or if they do not have a supportive family. This is also a factor to consider if they do not have a supportive social network or are not in a happy relationship. There is a possibility of a higher risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in bisexuals and lesbians, however no conclusive study has confirmed it. There is also higher rates of smoking and obesity in bisexual and lesbian women, however there is no conclusive evidence of higher rates of heart disease with them.