Nice cap, but I’ve never had an RN talk to me about tooth decay.
Wouldn’t an “ammoniated dentifrice” taste like, yuck?
3 out of 4 dentists recommend it?
I’ve had two dentists in my lifetime and neither one of them ever even said the word “Amurol” to me. They must have been in the other 25%.
“Minty taste”? Try ammonia breath.
And, um, isn’t Amurol something that you put on your tires?
Oh, wait that’s Armor All.
Only 21 days until the Daytona 500.
You knew I was going to fit that in somehow, didn’t ya?
Editrix Jenni of ChronicBabe.com is hosting Grand Rounds this week and her theme/topic is “Totally Babelicious: A Focus on Women’s Health Care Issues.”
I wanted to look at women’s health from a different angle.
There are great blogs out there on living with chronic illness, breast health, heart health and women’s sexuality.
What I don’t see are a lot of blogs about health care for lesbian/bisexual women.
So I went to the Gay Lesbian Medical Association. And I downloaded their pdf: “Guidelines for care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Patients”.
I honestly thought there was no big deal between the health of lesbian women and heterosexual women. We all face breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. We all face heart disease.
We are all women, after all.
But unlike those of us who are heterosexual, our lesbian sisters, relatives, friends, colleagues and partners have risk factors and face barriers to health care you may not realize.
And what I am about to tell you is pulled right from the GLMA pamphlet.
Did you know…
- Lesbian/bisexual women are at higher risk for chronic stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues because of the stigma, harassment and discrimination (or fear of same) associated with being homosexual. Fear of being judged or discriminated against often prevents a lesbian or bisexual women from seeking health care.
Did you know….
- A lack of appropriate health care education could cause a lesbian/bisexual woman to forgo necessary screening, perhaps believing that pap smears and other tests are not required for homosexual women. Problems like cancer might not be caught in the early stages. If you don’t access health care personnel, you miss out on health-related education and information.
Did you know…
- Lesbians have lower health insurance rates than their heterosexual counterparts? Why? Marriage and employment are the two primary routes to healthcare in the United States. (Some states recognize domestic partnerships, some do not). Your patient’s partner is less likely to be insured. Less insurance means less money for follow-up visits or expensive medications.
Did you know…
- Lesbian women are more likely to be overweight than heterosexual women. Let me quote directly from page 26 of the pamphlet because the studies behind why this is are interesting (italics mine): “There is evidence that lesbians are more likely to be overweight than their heterosexual counterparts, possibly because of cultural norms within the lesbian community and because lesbians may relate differently to, not accept or not internalize mainstream notions of ideal beauty and thinness. While lesbians as a group tend to have better body image than heterosexual women—a positive health characteristic—they may consequently be less motivated to avoid being overweight.”
Did you know?
- That smoking and substance abuse are found more often in lesbian populations, not only because of stress, but because of the “prominent role that bars and clubs have played in lesbian subcultures and as “women-only” spaces.
So what can we do to make it easier for our lesbian/bisexual patients?
- Understand that there is no “unique” lesbian patient; that lesbians are as diverse as the rest of the patients we care for in race, language, appearance.
- Be accepting and non-judgmental in your care. An accepting health care environment is likely to lead to willingness to access further health care, leading to further health education. Discussing sexuality is never easy, but don’t be afraid to ask the right questions or just assume that your female patient is heterosexual.
- Make sure your patients have options – remember that like any patient population, it is possible the lesbian patient may not have insurance. Access to many options is appreciated.
- Education is key. Lesbian women need to know they are just as likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, COPD, and STDs as any other patient population.
If you provide a warm, welcoming and open environment for your lesbian/bisexual patients you
help promote not only sexual health, but their entire physical health. When they need information, they will gravitate to the health care environment that is most accepting.
And information is power.
The power to make the appropriate decisions for your health care.
Gee. Maybe we aren’t so different after all.
If you work in a practice with gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered patients, I really suggest you download the GLMA pamphlet. It’s full of good information for caregivers on how we can support our GLBT community.