Women's Health Library
Category: Sexual health
Adenomyosis is a disease that occurs when the cells that normally line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall. It occurs most often in women older than 30 who have had a full-term pregnancy. It is rare in women who have...
Antiretroviral medicines for HIV
What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines?
Arrhythmias and Sexual Activity
If you have an arrhythmia and your doctor says that it's okay for you to do moderate activity, like brisk walking, then it's probably safe for you to have sex.
Barrier Methods of Birth Control
Covers barrier methods of birth control plus using a spermicide. Includes diaphragm, cervical cap, male condom and female condom, and spermicidal foam, sponges, and film. Covers risks and how well each method works.
Biopsy of Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
Your doctor may take a sample, or biopsy, of abnormal tissue. The majority of warts do not require a biopsy. But a biopsy may be taken if genital warts cannot be easily identified with a physical exam or during a gynecology exam...
Covers birth control methods, including the pill, skin patch, Depo-Provera shot, condoms, cervical cap, and diaphragm. Provides questions to help you decide the right birth control method for you. Covers emergency contraception (the morning-after pill).
Birth Control Hormones: The Implant
The implant is used to prevent pregnancy. It's a thin rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin (subdermal) on the inside of your arm.
Birth Control Hormones: The Mini-Pill
Mini-pills are used to prevent pregnancy. They release a regular dose of a hormone called progestin. They are different from regular combination birth control pills. Those contain progestin and another hormone called estrogen.
Birth Control Hormones: The Patch
The patch is used to prevent pregnancy. It looks like a bandage and is put on the skin of your belly, rear end (buttocks), upper arm, or upper body (but not on a breast).
Birth Control Hormones: The Pill
Combination pills are used to prevent pregnancy. Most people call them "the pill."
Birth Control Hormones: The Ring
The ring is used to prevent pregnancy. It's a soft plastic ring that you put into your vagina. It's also called the vaginal ring.
Birth Control Hormones: The Shot
The shot is used to prevent pregnancy. You get the shot in your upper arm or rear end (buttocks). The shot gives you a dose of the hormone progestin. The shot is often called by its brand name, Depo-Provera.
Birth Control Pills: Missed or Skipped Periods
It is not unusual for women who are taking hormone pills for birth control to have very light periods or no bleeding at all.
Birth Control for Teens
Birth control—without it, pregnancy can happen. That's why you need birth control you can count on.
Birth Control: How to Use a Diaphragm
A diaphragm is a birth control device that blocks sperm from fertilizing an egg. It is made of rubber and shaped like a dome. It fits inside a woman's vagina and covers the cervix (the opening of the uterus); a firm, flexible rim keeps it in...
Birth Control: How to Use the Patch
The skin (transdermal) patch is a highly effective method of birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The patch failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills.
Birth Control: How to Use the Vaginal Ring
The vaginal ring is a highly effective method of birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The ring failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills.
Birth Control: Myths About Sex and Pregnancy
Several myths about when a woman can or cannot become pregnant persist, particularly among younger people.
Birth Control: Pros and Cons of Hormonal Methods
The following tables list some pros and cons of using hormonal birth control methods.
Body Image After Cancer Treatment
How you feel about your body (your body image) may change when you have cancer. It is common to feel angry, frustrated, or disappointed after cancer surgery or during treatment for cancer. And it may be hard to adjust.
Breastfeeding as Birth Control
Breastfeeding can be used as a method of birth control, called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). But three conditions must be met to ensure its effectiveness:
COPD and Sex
For many people, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) gets in the way of sex. Being out of breath makes things difficult. Just thinking about it can make you want to avoid sex. But it doesn't have to be like that.
Cardiovascular syphilis refers to the infection of the heart and related blood vessels by the syphilis bacteria. This complication usually begins as an inflammation of the arteries. Destruction caused by cardiovascular syphilis can be...
Cervical Cap for Birth Control
The cervical cap is a barrier method of birth control. A cervical cap, which is made of rubber, fits tightly over the opening to the uterus (the cervix). It is used with a spermicide. You can insert the cap ahead of time or just before sex. To...
Chlamydia (say "kluh-MID-ee-uh") is an infection spread through sexual contact. This infection infects the urethra in men. In women, it infects the urethra and the cervix and can spread to the reproductive organs. It is one...
Chlamydia tests use a sample of body fluid or urine to see whether chlamydia bacteria (Chlamydia trachomatis) are present and causing an infection. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the...
Common Questions About Sexual Orientation
Many people believe things about gays that aren't true. Here are some questions people sometimes have.
Congenital syphilis occurs when a mother's syphilis goes untreated during pregnancy and is passed to the baby through the placenta. A baby can also become infected with syphilis during labor or delivery.
Contraceptive Sponge for Birth Control
The vaginal contraceptive sponge is a barrier method of birth control. It contains a spermicide called nonoxynol-9. The sponge also blocks the cervix so sperm can't pass. It can be inserted immediately before intercourse or up to 24 hours...
Cryotherapy (Cryosurgery) for Genital Warts
Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.
Diabetic Neuropathy: Treatment for Sexual Problems
Male sexual problems. Some men who have erection problems caused by diabetic neuropathy may find injections, implants, or pump devices helpful. Sildenafil (Viagra) also may be taken to improve erections, but it should not be taken by...
Diaphragm for Birth Control
The diaphragm is a barrier method of birth control. It is a round, dome-shaped device made of rubber that has a firm, flexible rim. It fits inside a woman's vagina and covers the cervix. It should always be used with a sperm-killing cream...
Effectiveness Rate of Birth Control Methods
This table compares how well different birth control methods work. The column on the right shows how many women out of 100 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method. These numbers reflect studies of real-life usage.
Electrocautery for Genital Warts
Electrocautery removes genital warts on the penis, vulva, or around the anus by burning them with a low-voltage electrified probe.
Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction)
A man has erection problems if he cannot get or keep an erection that is firm enough for him to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence.
Erection Problems: Questions Your Doctor May Ask
Your doctor may ask questions about the type of erection problem (erectile dysfunction) you have. Examples include:
Erection Problems: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take medicines (Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra) for erection problems. Explains erectile dysfunction and what causes it. Lists risks and benefits of medicines. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?
Guides through decision to try injection treatment for erection problems. Lists common causes of erection problems. Includes information about types of injections used. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Erection Problems: Surgery on Penile Blood Vessels
Surgery on the veins to keep them from draining blood from the penis is called venous ligation. It is no longer done.
Erection Problems: Talking With Your Partner
Talking with your partner may help your erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Couples often assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex. Sometimes they are wrong.
Fallopian Tube Procedures for Infertility
A fallopian tube blockage typically prevents successful passage of the egg to the sperm, or the fertilized egg to the uterus. Surgery can be used to try to correct this common cause of infertility. The specific type of surgery...
Family Life Cycle
Discusses emotional and intellectual stages of life from childhood to your retirement years. Covers stages of the human life cycle, including independence and adulthood, coupling, parenting, and retirement.
Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy.
Female Genital Problems and Injuries
Most women experience minor vaginal problems from time to time. These problems can be related to menstrual cycles, sex, infection, birth control methods, aging, medicines, or changes after pregnancy.
Looks at infertility. Includes info on various tests used for women and men to find out why a woman can't get pregnant. Covers treatments for men and women, including medicine to help a woman ovulate and procedures to increase a man's sperm count.
Fitz-Hugh–Curtis syndrome occurs when pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causes inflammation of the capsule covering the liver and the area around it. It causes pain in the upper right belly.
Gender Identity and Transgender Issues
Gender identity is your internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female. When you are transgender, this feeling doesn't match your actual sex. Your body is male or female, but what you feel...
Discusses genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2). Covers symptoms and treatment, including care during pregnancy. Covers what increases your risk and offers prevention tips.
A genital self-exam is a simple examination you can give yourself to become familiar with what is normal for you and to see if you have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
Covers causes and symptoms of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is also called genital warts. Looks at treatment with medicines, lasers, surgery, or freezing. Covers prevention and shots of HPV vaccine.
Getting Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control
The amount of time it takes for a woman's full fertility to return after stopping birth control varies for each woman and depends on the birth control method she is using. Your ability to get pregnant gradually decreases as you age, starting...
Gonorrhea is an infection spread through sexual contact. In men, it most often infects the urethra. In women, it usually infects the urethra, cervix, or both. It also can infect the rectum, anus, throat, and pelvic organs. In rare...
Gonorrhea tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for the bacterium, or germ, that causes gonorrhea. Testing is done on body fluid or urine samples.
Gynecological Exam for Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
A gynecological exam for genital warts includes:
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection
Discusses HIV, a virus that attacks white blood cells called CD4+ cells which are an important part of the immune system. Covers symptoms and stages of infection, including last stage called AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Covers HIV treatment.
HIV: Risks of Sexual Contact
During vaginal, oral, or anal sex, the receiving partner has the higher risk of getting infected with HIV. Men who allow other men to perform anal sex on them have the highest risk. The inserting male partner has a lower risk, but the risk...
HPV: Should I Get the Vaccine?
Guides through decision to get the HPV vaccine. Explains the vaccination process. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Heart Failure and Sexual Activity
Sex is part of a healthy life and is part of your quality of life. Most people with heart failure can still have an active sex life. If you have mild heart failure, your doctor will likely say that sex is safe for your heart. If you have more...
Herpes tests are done to find the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An HSV infection can cause small, painful sores that look like blisters on the skin or the tissue lining (mucous membranes) of the throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and ...
High-Risk Sexual Behavior
High-risk sexual behavior puts people at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, and being in a sexual relationship before being mature enough to know what makes a healthy relationship. Teens and young adults are at...
Hormonal Birth Control: Risk of Blood Clots
In some women, the estrogen in combination hormonal birth control methods increases the risk of a blood clot in a leg (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) or a blood clot in a lung (pulmonary embolism, or PE). A blood clot in a leg vein can...
Hormonal Factors in Erection Problems
Hormonal factors may play a role in erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Men who produce low levels of the hormone testosterone (a condition known as hypogonadism) may have decreased sexual desire. A blood test is usually done if your...
How Birth Control Methods Prevent Pregnancy
Birth control methods Method How it prevents pregnancyHormonalPrevents ovulationThickens mucus at the cervix so sperm cannot pass throughChanges the environment of the uterus and fallopian tubes to prevent fertilization...
How Erections Occur
An erection occurs when your imagination or one or more of the senses (vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste) are stimulated and you become aroused. Your central nervous system sends nerve impulses that increase blood flow to your penis. The...
How Pregnancy (Conception) Occurs
Most women are able to become pregnant from puberty, when their menstrual cycles begin, until menopause, when their cycles stop. A pregnancy starts with fertilization, when a woman's egg joins with a man's sperm. Fertilization usually...
How to Take Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills come in packs. The most common type has 3 weeks of hormone pills. Some packs have sugar pills for the fourth week. During that fourth no-hormone week, you have your menstrual period. After the fourth week (28 days), you...
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Test
A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test detects HIV antibodies or antigens, or the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of HIV in the blood or another type of sample. This determines whether an HIV infection is present (HIV-positive)....
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to check for a high-risk HPV infection in women. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An HPV test checks for the genetic material (DNA) of the human papillomavirus. Like a Pap test, an HPV test is...
Hysterectomy: Concerns About Sex
Many women are concerned about the effect a hysterectomy may have on their ability to enjoy sexual relationships.
Before having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted, you will probably have:
In Vitro Fertilization for Infertility
During in vitro fertilization (IVF), eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory glass dish to allow the sperm to fertilize an egg. With IVF, you can use any combination of your own eggs and sperm and donor eggs and sperm.
Infertility tests are done to help find out why a woman cannot become pregnant. The tests help find whether the problem is with the man, the woman, or both. Tests usually include a physical exam, semen analysis, blood tests, and...
Insemination Procedures for Infertility
An insemination procedure uses a thin, flexible tube (catheter) to put sperm into the woman's reproductive tract. For some couples with infertility problems, insemination can improve the chances of pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for Infertility
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) used to treat sperm-related infertility problems. ICSI is used to enhance the fertilization phase of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by injecting a...
Intrauterine Device (IUD) for Birth Control
Discusses intrauterine device (IUD) for long-term birth control for women. Covers types of IUDs. Includes how well IUDs work to prevent pregnancy. Covers updated science on IUD's link to pelvic inflammatory disease.
Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis
Discusses laparoscopy to diagnose and remove mild to moderate endometriosis. Covers why it is done and what to expect after surgery. Includes how well laparoscopic surgery works and possible risks. Discusses infertility.
Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation
A tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of birth control. The fallopian tubes are cut or blocked, which prevents pregnancy by blocking the egg's path to the sperm and uterus. Laparoscopy makes it possible to see and do the surgery...
Laser Surgery for Genital Warts
A laser can be used to destroy genital warts.
Levonorgestrel (LNg) IUD
The levonorgestrel (LNg) intrauterine device (IUD) releases small amounts of levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone, into the uterus each day. This type of IUD reduces cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding. And it is a highly effective...
Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Genital Warts
The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to remove genital warts by heating the margin of the area to be removed, which separates the wart from the skin.
Low Back Pain and Sex
Healthy, satisfying sex is very important for relationships. And the fear of having sex because of back pain can be a big problem. If your sex life has suffered because of back pain, take heart. Many people have faced this problem. And there are...
Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy. A male condom is placed over a man's erect penis before sex. Condoms are also called "rubbers," "sheaths," or "skins."
Medical Abortion Care
A medical abortion is the use of medicines to end a pregnancy. Medical care for a medical abortion is different from medical care for a surgical abortion. This is because a medical abortion is like a miscarriage (in this case, caused by...
Medicines for Erection Problems: Reactions With Nitrate
Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (for example, Viagra), have made a big difference in the treatment of erection problems (erectile dysfunction). But they can cause life-threatening side effects for anyone who also takes...
Menopause and Perimenopause
Discusses what happens in the body during menopause or perimenopause. Describes physical and emotional symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. Discusses treatment with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Also covers hormone therapy.
Military Sexual Trauma
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines military sexual trauma (MST) as experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment.footnote 1 These traumas occur when a person is in the ...
Missed or Irregular Periods
Most women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. You may be different: You may have more or fewer. Missed or irregular periods must be looked at in terms of what is normal for you.
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection that causes small pearly or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps may be clear, and the center often is indented. The infection is caused by a virus. The virus is easily spread but is not harmful.
Multiple Sclerosis: Treating Sexual Problems With Medicines
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause sexual problems that may be helped by medicine.
Discusses surgical removal of fibroids from uterus. Covers hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, and laparotomy. Looks at what to expect after surgery and how well it works. Explains possible risks. Discusses hysterectomy, infertility, and miscarriage.
Neurosyphilis refers to the infection of the brain and spinal cord by the syphilis bacteria. This can lead to destruction in many areas of the nervous system, causing loss of function of a person's arms or legs, loss of vision, and altered...
Normal Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman's body goes through to prepare for a pregnancy. About once a month, the uterus grows a new lining (endometrium) to get ready for a fertilized egg. When there is no fertilized egg...
Other Health Problems Caused by Herpes Simplex Virus
If the herpes simplex virus (HSV) invades a part of the body other than the genital area, it may cause disease in that part of the body. In general, complications are rare. And they usually occur with the first-time (primary) genital...
Discusses complete physical exam of a woman's pelvic organs by a health professional. Includes info on exam of vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Explains how exam is done. Discusses speculum, stirrups, Pap test, and reproductive health problems.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of a woman's reproductive organs.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Draining an Abscess
A pelvic abscess may be drained by needle aspiration. A needle is inserted through the abdominal or vaginal wall into the abscess. The fluid filling the abscess is drawn out (aspirated) with a syringe connected to the needle. A...
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Tubo-Ovarian Abscess
A pocket of pus that forms during an infection of a fallopian tube and ovary is called a tubo-ovarian abscess. Tubo-ovarian abscesses can develop in women who have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Penile Implants for Erection Problems
Penile implants to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction) are either semirigid (noninflatable) or inflatable cylinders that replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an ...
Peyronie's disease is an abnormal curvature of the penis caused by scar tissue in the erectile tissue. Because the scar tissue prevents straightening of the penis, the curvature is most obvious during an erection. The curvature may be so...
Physical Exam for Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) for Men
Explains how it is done. Covers why it is done, such as visible genital warts, having a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and having sex partner with genital warts. Includes possible results of the exam.
Premature ejaculation is uncontrolled ejaculation either before or shortly after sexual penetration. It happens with minimal sexual stimulation and before the person wishes. It may result in unsatisfactory sex for both partners. This...
Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack
Sex is part of a healthy life and part of your quality of life. It is safe for most people after they have had a heart attack.
Risk Factors for HIV Infection
Most people get HIV by having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV. HIV can be spread even through unprotected oral sex.footnote 1 Another common way of getting the virus is when injecting drugs and sharing needles with someone who is...
STI Testing: Should I Get Tested for a Sexually Transmitted Infection?
Guides through the decision to be screened for sexually transmitted infections. Explains STIs and discusses causes and lifestyles that put you at higher risk for getting infected. Covers benefits and risks of testing. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.
Covers safer sex practices like abstinence, using condoms, watching for symptoms of STIs, and limiting number of sex partners you have. Includes list of questions to ask someone before having sex.
Discusses test that evaluates sperm to see if there are fertility problems or if a vasectomy worked. Covers how the test is done and how to prepare. Discusses what results may mean. Lists factors like medicines or activities that may affect the test.
Sensual Exercises for Erection Problems
Sensual exercises may help with erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Doing these with your partner may help you relax and focus more on the pleasurable touching of lovemaking than on the erection itself. Focusing too much on having...
Sex After Childbirth
For a while after childbirth, don't be surprised if you have little interest in sex. Physical recovery, exhaustion, and hormonal changes often affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman's experience is different.
Sex Therapy for Erection Problems
Sex therapy may be helpful for some men who have erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Sex therapy doesn't involve having sex with or in front of the sex therapist. Also, isn't long-term or open-ended therapy. It usually involves working...
Sex and Your Heart
Sex is part of a healthy life. And it can be safe for people who have heart problems. But some of these people may worry about having sex. Or they may have problems having sex or enjoying sex.
Sexual Abuse or Assault (Rape)
Sexual abuse or assault (rape) can happen to anyone. If this has happened to you, you are not to blame. Sexual abuse is any type of sexual activity that is done against your will. It can be nonviolent sexual abuse, such as nontouching sexual...
Sexual Dysfunction Causes: Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions can cause problems with sexual drive or sexual response. They include:
Sexual Dysfunction Causes: Medicines
Some medicines may cause a decrease in your desire for sex or in your body's ability to make sex pleasurable (such as vaginal dryness or inability to have an erection). These medicines include:
Sexual orientation means how you are attracted romantically and sexually to other people. There are different kinds of sexual orientation. A person can be:
Sexual Problems in Women
A sexual problem is something that keeps sex from being satisfying or positive.
Sexual Problems: Questions About Your Sexual History
Women often begin the process of diagnosing sexual dysfunction by noticing an absence of sexual desire or satisfaction. Your health professional will work with you to identify your symptoms and the history of those symptoms. The answers to the...
Sexuality While Breastfeeding
Childbirth and breastfeeding may affect your sexual desire. Exhaustion, breast soreness, your baby's demands, and recovery from childbirth may reduce your interest in intimacy with your partner. But you may feel more comfortable having sex...
Sexuality and Physical Changes With Aging
Sex and sexuality communicate a great deal: affection, love, esteem, warmth, sharing, and bonding. These gifts are as much the right of older adults as they are of those who are much younger.
Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are some of the most widespread infections both in the United States and the world. STIs affect both men and women, and two-thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25. Exposure to an STI can occur...
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Lists common sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, HIV, HPV (genital warts), syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor. Covers safer sex. Offers prevention tips.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Genital Exam for Men
During a male genital exam for sexually transmitted infections, the doctor:
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Symptoms in Women
If you develop symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to be evaluated by a health professional soon after your symptoms start. Symptoms of an STI include:
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Treatment
Treatment is available for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), no matter what the cause, to relieve symptoms, even if a cure is not possible. Some, but not all, STIs are treated with antibiotics.
Spermicide for Birth Control
A spermicide is a substance that kills sperm. Spermicides are available as jelly, foam, cream, suppositories, and film. The active ingredient of most spermicides is a chemical called nonoxynol-9.
Spinal Cord Injury: Sensual Exercises
Sensual exercises may help you enjoy sexual intimacy and find satisfaction after a spinal cord injury (SCI). You may find that your old methods of finding satisfaction still work or that they no longer do. Doing sensual exercises with your...
Spinal Cord Injury: Talking With Your Partner About Sex
Talking with your partner may help your sexual function, whether it be erection problems for men or lack of arousal for women. Couples often wrongly assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex, but likes and...
Stages of Syphilis
Syphilis is described in terms of its four stages: primary, secondary, latent (hidden), and tertiary (late).
Surgical Removal of Genital Warts by Excision
Visible genital warts on the penis or vagina or around the anus are removed by excision, which means cutting the warts off with a surgical knife (scalpel). Warts on the cervix may be removed by laser or loop electrosurgical excision...
Symptoms of Pelvic Infection
Abnormal vaginal bleeding with fever may be caused by an infection in the pelvic organs. During your period, bacteria can travel up the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause an infection. This is more common...
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. If it's not treated by a doctor, it can get worse over time and cause serious health problems.
Syphilis tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for antibodies to the bacterium, or germ, that causes syphilis. Some tests look for the syphilis germ itself.
The first symptom of syphilis is a sore called a chancre (say "shanker") that is usually painless. The sore begins at the site of infection as a small, solid, raised skin sore less than 0.5 in. (1 cm) across. It develops into a red,...
Gummata are growths of pink, fleshy tissue that contain syphilis bacteria. They may appear as nodules or ulcers or become masses that are like tumors. Gummata are rare and may be up to 0.5 in. (1 cm) in size. Common sites of gummata include the:
Talking With Your Child About Sex
Offers tips on talking with your child about sex. Addresses family values. Covers getting conversations started. Covers topics such as using condoms and other forms of birth control to avoid pregnancy and STIs. Also covers sexual abuse and date rape.
A testosterone test checks the level of this male hormone (androgen) in the blood. Testosterone affects sexual features and development. In men, it is made in large amounts by the testicles. In both men and women, testosterone is...
Tests for Bacterial Vaginosis
Tests for bacterial vaginosis take samples of fluid from the vagina. The samples are looked at under a microscope to see if they show signs of infection.
Tests for Erection Problems
Tests for erection problems can help find out why a man can't have or maintain an erection. This problem is called erectile dysfunction, or impotence. It's a common male problem. Most erection problems are caused by a mix of blood vessel, nerve, or...
Trichomoniasis is an infection with a tiny parasite spread by sexual contact (sexually transmitted infection (STI)). It is sometimes called a Trichomonas infection or trich (say "trick").
Tubal Ligation Reversal
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed to prevent her eggs from traveling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they could be fertilized by a sperm.
Tubal Ligation and Tubal Implants
Tubal ligation, often referred to as "having your tubes tied," is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, tied, or cut. Tubal implants, such as Essure, are small metal springs that are placed in each...
Vacuum Devices for Erection Problems
A vacuum device, which is sometimes used to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction), is a tube made of plastic that fits around the penis. You coat the base of the penis with lubricant and insert the penis into the tube. Air is...
Vaginal Rashes and Sores
A rash in your vaginal area (vulva) may be caused by irritation of the skin from many sources, such as clothes rubbing against the skin. Rashes that occur without other symptoms are usually minor and often go away with home treatment.
Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE)
A vaginal self-examination is a way for a woman to look at her vulva and vagina. A vaginal self-examination may help you better understand your body, the changes that take place during the menstrual cycle, and any problems that may...
Vaginal Yeast Infections
Discusses infection caused by overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast that normally lives in the vagina. Covers symptoms like itching or soreness in vagina or burning when you urinate or have sex. Looks at treatment with medicines like Monistat.
Varicocele Repair for Infertility
Looks at repairing varicoceles, which are enlarged varicose veins in the scrotum. Explains that varicocele repair is done to improve male fertility. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Also covers risks.
Discusses vasectomy, a permanent method of birth control for men. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Discusses how well it works and risks. Also provides info on reconnecting the vas deferens (vasectomy reversal).
What to Do About Missed or Skipped Birth Control Pills
Birth control methods have high rates of effectiveness if they are used consistently. Follow your health professional's instructions on what to do if you miss or skip your birth control pills. Some general guidelines are listed here.
Your Teen's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Teens want an answer to the eternal question, "Who am I?" Part of the answer lies in their sexual self. The teen years can be a confusing time. Hormones, cultural and peer pressures, and fear of being different can cause many teens to question...