Lesbian and Bisexual Women
What can lesbian and bisexual women do to protect their health?
- Find a primary care provider and get regular check-ups.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about screening tests you may need. You need regular preventive screenings to stay healthy. Lesbian and bisexual women need all the same tests that heterosexual women do. Learn more about what tests you need, based on your age such as cancer screening for cervical, breast, colon and lung cancer (Pap/HPV, mammography, colonoscopy, lung CT, others), diabetes, cholesterol, etc.
- Practice safer sex. Get tested for STIs before starting asexual relationship. If you are unsure about a partner's status, practice methods to reduce the chances of sharing vaginal fluid, semen, or blood. If you have sex with men, use a condom every time. You should also use condoms on sex toys. Oral sex with men or with women can also spread STIs, including, rarely, HIV. HIV can potentially be passed through a mucous membrane (such as the mouth) by vaginal fluids or blood, especially if the membrane is torn or cut.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Your diet should include a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods give you energy, plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Reduce the amount of sodium you eat to lessthan 2,300 mg per day.
- Drink moderately. If you drink alcohol, don't have more than one drink per day. Too much alcohol raises blood pressure and can increase your risk for stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, many cancers, and other problems.
- Get moving. An active lifestyle can help any woman. You will benefit most from about 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. More physical activity means additional health and fitness benefits. On two or more days every week, adults should engage in muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or doing squats or push-ups.
- Don't smoke. If you do smoke, try to quit. Learn more about how to stop smoking. Avoid second hand smoke as much as you can.
- Try different things to deal with your stress. Stress from discrimination and from loneliness is hard for every lesbian and bisexual woman. Relax using deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy. You can also take a few minutes to sit and listen to soft music or read a book. Talk to your friends or get help from a mental health professional if you need it.
- Get help for domestic violence.
- Build strong bones. Take steps to help build strong bonesand prevent osteoporosis.
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