There is so much health information available online geared toward lesbian health. How does lesbian or bisexual health differ from that of heterosexual women? It doesn’t. Women who identify as lesbians and bisexuals are prone to the same sexually transmitted infections, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections as women who identify as heterosexual. That said, it is important to note that lesbian and bisexual women do face significantly different issues within health care, such as discrimination and uninformed medical practitioners.
As sexual orientation doesn’t affect a woman’s health, it is reasonable to then look into risk factors and common illnesses for women in general. The number one cause of death for women is heart disease. There are several risk factors that contribute to the likelihood of developing heart disease. While age, race, and genetics are not within your control, obesity and smoking are. Such lifestyle choices make a significant difference when it comes to long-term health, particularly in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.
The second most common cause of death amongst women is cancer of the breast, lung, colon, uterus, and ovaries. This is one case that research shows a significant increase in rates for lesbian or bisexual women. While research is still being conducted, it is believed that breast and ovarian cancers are related to hormone levels. It is thought that full-term pregnancies and breastfeeding release hormones that may protect women against such cancers. As lesbian and bisexual women are less likely to have a full-term pregnancy, they may be at greater risk of developing such cancers.
Of course, the greatest risk for all women is to delay check-ups and exams. It is most important to find a physician that you are comfortable meeting with regularly and speaking with openly. Women should go in for full examinations at least once a year – reach out to a medical provider and make an appointment today!