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Sexual medicine

Advice and treatment for a range of sexual problems

Doctor and patient in conversation during a sexual medicine consultation
Sexual medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on a range of sexual health issues and conditions including:

  • Sex education
  • Sexual development
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Conditions affecting the genitals and reproductive organs
  • Psychosexual problems

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private sexual health treatment with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains some of the problems and conditions that sexual medicine can treat as well as some of the available treatments.

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection that is transmitted during unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

STIs can be bacterial, viral, or fungal and include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, genital warts, syphilis, HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV). STIs are very common and 311, 604 new cases were diagnosed in England in 20211.

Some STIs can cause serious health complications if left untreated.

Common symptoms of STIs

The symptoms of an STI vary depending on the type of STI you have. Some STIs have very mild or no symptoms, so you may have an STI and be unaware that you have it.

General symptoms of an STI include:

  • Discharge from the penis, vagina, or anus
  • Itching around the genitals or anus
  • Blisters, sores, warts or lumps around the genitals or anus
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain or discomfort when passing urine (peeing)

Common sexual problems include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Pain during sex
  • Low libido (sex drive)

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition where a man is unable to get or keep an erection long enough to have sex. It can have a physical or psychological cause. Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause and may involve lifestyle changes, medication, devices such as vacuum pumps, counselling, or a combination of any of these things.

Premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is another common condition where a man ejaculates sooner than he or his partner would like during sex.  Premature ejaculation doesn’t normally affect your physical health, but it can cause frustration and negatively impact your relationship and self-esteem.

Treatment for premature ejaculation includes psychological and behavioural therapy and medication.

Pain during or after sex (dyspareunia)

Pain during or after sex is more common in women and has a variety of causes including psychological and physical. It may be caused by:

  • Medical conditions such as vaginismus, (a condition where the vaginal muscles contract making penetration difficult or impossible), endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or fibroids
  • Infections like thrush or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Vaginal dryness due to lack of arousal or menopause
  • Allergy or irritation of the genitals

Treatment for pain during or after sex depends on the underlying cause and may include medication, hormonal treatments, or counselling.

Low libido (low sex drive)

Low libido is a common problem where there is a lack of interest in and desire to have sex. It has many possible causes including:

  • Depression, stress, or anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Hormonal changes
  • A side effect of some medications
  • Hormonal contraception
  • Some medical conditions
  • Excessive alcohol intake

Treatment for low libido depends on the cause and may include medication, counselling, hormone therapy or changing your method of contraception.

Treatment for sexual health problems depends on the condition being treated and may include medication, sex therapy, couples counselling, surgery, or a combination of treatments. Our sexual medicine experts will provide a comprehensive individualised treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant specialising in sexual medicine. Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms, general health, and medical history. They may ask you some questions about your relationship and sexual history. If you have symptoms of an STI they may ask to examine your genitals.

Your consultant may order a blood test to check for any underlying medical cause or hormonal imbalance. If an STI is suspected they will arrange for an STI test. This may involve a blood or urine test, or taking a swab from your vagina, penis, anus, or urethra (the tube from which you pass urine).

How is a diagnosis made?

How a diagnosis is made depends on the condition being diagnosed. Some conditions like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, pain during sex and low libido are diagnosed based on your symptoms and medical history. Sexually transmitted infections are diagnosed with a blood or urine test or swab or by examining your genitals.

Why is this first consultation so important?

Your first consultation is important as it's where we first meet you, learn about your symptoms and provide a diagnosis and treatment options. Your first appointment is also where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have.

At Circle Health Group, we understand that it can be difficult to talk about personal issues such as those relating to our sexual health. Our team of experts are skilled at handling this topic sensitively and providing a confidential service that is fast and discreet to ensure you get the best individualised care and treatment.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will provide a diagnosis and recommend the best treatment for you based on your symptoms, diagnosis, general health, and expectations for treatment.

What is sexual medicine?

Sexual medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with every aspect of sexual health including sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases and conditions affecting the genitals and reproductive system.

What is sexual health?

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing in relation to sexuality.

How to get a sexual health check

You can arrange a sexual health check in several ways:

  • Your local sexual health or genitourinary (GUM) clinic
  • Your GP
  • Privately, with a specialist in sexual medicine

Why is sexual health important?

Sexual health is an important part of our overall health and impacts many aspects of our lives such as our self-esteem, relationships, and physical, mental, and emotional health. Many sexually transmitted diseases or other sexual health conditions can be treated or cured. Untreated STIs may not show any symptoms and can have serious consequences for your long-term health. Screening, early detection and treatment are important to prevent the spread of STIs and future complications.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about sexual medicine, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

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