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Based on a survey of obstetrician-gynecologists across the United States, the researchers found that less than half of them routinely ask their female patients about sexual problems. At the same time, the researchers noted from past studies that about a third of young and middle-age women have some sort of issue related to sexual intercourse, such as pain, low desire or lack of pleasure.
Such sexual dysfunction not only can lead to worry, shame, guilt and feelings of isolation for a woman, but can put a real strain on relationships, the researchers said.
"Patients are often reluctant to bring up sexual difficulties because of fear the physician will be embarrassed or will dismiss their concerns," lead study author Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau said in a statement. "Doctors should be taking the lead."