Lesbians face unique challenges within the health care system that can cause poorer mental and physical health. Many doctors, nurses, and other health care providers have not had sufficient training to understand the specific health experiences of lesbians, or that women who are lesbians, like heterosexual women, can be healthy normal females. There can be barriers to optimal health for lesbians, such as:
- Fear of negative reactions from their doctors if they disclose their sexual orientation.
- Doctors' lack of understanding of lesbians' disease risks, and issues that may be important to lesbians.
- Lack of health insurance because of no domestic partner benefits.
- Low perceived risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases and some types of cancer.
For the above reasons, lesbians often avoid routine health exams and even delay seeking medical care when health problems occur.
This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.