SEXUAL HEALTH, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, SEXUAL COERCION, AND PARTNER ABUSE INDICATORS IN A CANADIAN OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY OUTPATIENT POPULATION.
OBJECTIVES: to assess prevalence and correlates of sexual health, reproductive health, sexual coercion, and partner abuse in a Canadian obstetrics and gynaecology outpatient population, and to determine whether women who report concerns in these areas have ever discussed them with their physicians. METHODS: a self-administered questionnaire was completed by 409 women (93.8% response rate) attending two hospital-based obstetrics and gynaecology outpatient clinics in a mid-size Canadian city. RESULTS: significant, prevalent, and clinically neglected sexual health, reproductive health, sexual coercion, and partner abuse concerns were reported, including: chronic and troubling dyspareunia (37%), dysmenorrhea (47%), and premenstrual syndrome (57%), infrequent breast self-examination (53%), inconsistent contraceptive use despite the desire not to conceive (41%), inconsistent condom use among those with multiple sexual partners (82%), sexual dysfunction (76% reported at least one sexual function concern), and a history of sexual coercion (23%) and physical partner abuse (19%). Only a small minority of women who reported sexual or reproductive health or sexual coercion or partner abuse concerns had ever discussed these concerns with their physician. CONCLUSION: these findings provide an empirical profile of significant and prevalent, but clinically neglected, women's health concerns. The findings suggest the need for increased clinical attention to the range of problems surveyed.