Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have ongoing sexual difficulties that distress you, make an appointment with your doctor. You may feel embarrassed to talk about sex with your doctor, but this topic is perfectly appropriate. A satisfying sex life is important to a woman's well-being at every age.

You might have a treatable, underlying condition, or you might benefit from lifestyle changes, therapy or a combination of treatments. Your primary doctor will either diagnose and treat the problem or refer you to a specialist.

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

Gather information about:

  • Your symptoms. Take note of any sexual difficulties you're having, including when and how often they occur.
  • Your sexual history. Your doctor likely will ask about your relationships and experiences since you became sexually active. He or she also might ask about any history of sexual trauma or abuse.
  • Your medical history. Write down any medical conditions you have, including mental health conditions. Jot down the names and doses of medications you take or have recently taken, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Questions to ask your doctor. Create a list of questions to make the most of your time with your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor about your sexual concerns include:

  • What might be causing my sexual difficulties?
  • Do I need medical tests?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • If you're prescribing medication, are there possible side effects?
  • How much improvement can I reasonably expect with treatment?
  • Are there lifestyle changes or self-care steps that might help?
  • Do you recommend therapy?
  • Should my partner be involved in treatment?
  • Do you have printed material you can give me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor might ask a number of personal questions and might want to include your partner in the interview. To help determine the cause of your problem and the best course of treatment, be ready to answer questions such as:

  • What problems are you having?
  • How much do these problems bother you?
  • How satisfied are you with your relationship?
  • Do you become aroused during sexual interactions with your partner?
  • Do you have orgasms?
  • If you've had orgasms in the past but no longer can, what's different?
  • Do you have pain with intercourse?
  • What form of birth control, if any, do you use?
  • Do you use alcohol or recreational drugs? How much?
  • Have you ever had surgery that involved your reproductive system?
  • Have you been diagnosed with other medical conditions, including mental health conditions?
  • Have you ever had an unwanted sexual experience?

What you can do in the meantime

Keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Be honest about your dissatisfaction or the problem you have. Consider alternatives for intimacy and engage in sexual activities that are rewarding for both of you.

Aug. 28, 2015