Many of the health issues experienced by lesbians at midlife are the same health issues experienced by heterosexual women, however, as we live in a homophobic world where lesbians are largely invisible, other issues may impact negatively on general health and wellbeing. Midlife presents challenges and changes that for many of us bring welcome relief, whilst for others it may be a difficult time. In order to remain healthy at midlife, we need to take care of our whole selves, not just our physical needs. This includes nurturing our physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological selves.
Because of past negative experiences with the health system, some of us may be reluctant to seek out information and assistance from health professionals at midlife. Although this is understandable, by not accessing health services we may be putting our health at unnecessary risk.
It is often difficult to find a practitioner who is sensitive to our needs as lesbians or one who even acknowledges our existence. If you feel uncomfortable with your health practitioner, remember it is your right to find one with whom you feel safe and respected. This may be difficult if you are living in a rural or remote location where the choices available to women in the city are simply not present. In an attempt to find a sensitive practitioner, it might be useful to contact a women’s health service. Many women’s health services in all states and territories have toll free phone numbers and usually have links with lesbian sensitive services/practitioners and agencies. These services also have libraries and have a selection of lesbian books and articles, which may be of interest.
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