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Women's Health

Health is an important concern for all women.

There are many health issues that only affect women. This section focuses on women's health issues.

You may also want to read about other women's sexual health topics, such as abortion, birth control, pregnancy, and STDs.

There is much we can do to protect our health. Routine visits with a health care provider can help prevent illness and can find problems that may need treatment. Pelvic exams, Pap tests, and screenings for breast cancer are all vital health care needs for women. And for women with abnormal Pap test results, tests and treatments used to prevent cervical cancer — colposcopy, cryotherapy, and LEEP — can save lives.

Our goal at Planned Parenthood is to give you up-to-date, clear information that helps you better understand your reproductive health. We hope these pages give you the facts and tools you need to protect your health and the health of women you care about.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are very common.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact.

These infections often do not cause any symptoms. Medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms. That is why STDs are also called "sexually transmitted infections." But it’s very common for people to use the terms "sexually transmitted diseases" or "STDs," even when there are no signs of disease.

There are many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. And they are very common — more than half of all of us will get one at some time in our lives. Use the list above to find out about each kind of STD.

The good news is we can protect ourselves and each other from STDs. Practicing safer sex allows you to reduce your risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. And if you've done anything that puts you at risk of infection, getting tested allows you to get any treatments you may need. The Check can help you figure out if you should get tested for HIV, chlamydia, or gonorrhea, three dangerous STDs.

Sexual Orientation & Gender

Sexual orientation and gender are fundamental parts of who we are.

Each of us has a biological sex — whether we are female, male, or intersex. Our gender is our biological, social, and legal status as men or women. And sexual orientation is the term used to describe whether a person feels sexual desire for people of the other gender, same gender, or both genders.

Each of us has a gender and gender identity. Our gender identity is our deepest feelings about our gender. We express our gender identity in the way that we act masculine, feminine, neither, or both. Some of us are transgender — which means that our biological sex and our gender identity do not match up.

Each of us also has a sexual orientation. You may be bisexual, gay, lesbian or straight. Or you may be “questioning” — unsure about your sexual orientation.

The more you understand biological sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, the more you may understand yourself and how you relate to other people. Because sex and gender are so complex, you may have many questions. You may wonder about your own sexual orientation or gender identity, or you may wonder about someone you know. You may have questions about how society views sex and gender — including homophobia, sexism, and transphobia.

We hope these pages give you the facts and tools you need to better understand sexual orientation and gender.

Sex & Sexuality

Understanding our sexuality can help us enjoy our lives more.

What do you know about sex? What do you know about sexuality? We hear about sex and sexuality almost every day, but much of what we hear is inaccurate and can be confusing. A basic understanding of sex and sexuality can help us sort out myth from fact and help us all enjoy our lives more.

We are all sexual. We are sexual from the day we are born until the day we die. Our sexuality affects who we are and how we express ourselves as sexual beings.

Our sexuality includes

our bodies, including our sexual and reproductive anatomy
our biological sex — male, female, or intersex 
our gender — being a girl, boy, woman, man, or transgender
our gender identities — our comfort with and feelings about our gender
our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual
our sex drives
our sexual identity — the way we feel about our sex, gender, and sexual orientation
The ways we experience and express our sexuality include

our body image — how we feel about our bodies 
our desires, thoughts, fantasies, sexual pleasure, sexual preferences, and sexual dysfunction
our values, attitudes, beliefs, and ideals about life, love, and sexual relationships
our sexual behaviors — the ways we have sex including masturbation
Our sexuality and the ways we experience and express it are influenced by

our biology
our emotional lives
our family lives
our culture and our status in our culture
our ethical, religious, and spiritual upbringing and experience
Even though we spend our lifetimes as sexual beings, it’s normal to have many questions about sex and sexuality. And this is good because the more we know about sex and sexuality, the better we are able to take charge of our sex lives and our sexual health.

We hope these pages give you the information you need to better understand your own sexuality.



Pregnancy is a big event in a woman's life. And it's normal to have many questions about it.

Some people have basic questions about how pregnancy happens. Some may have questions about avoiding a pregnancy. Others are considering pregnancy and have questions about pre-pregnancy health, or infertility. And some may wonder about options for an unintended pregnancy.

Many women need information about pregnancy tests. Pregnant women may also have questions about prenatal care and the stages of pregnancy. And women who are concerned about pregnancy loss may have lots of questions about miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Only you can decide what is best for you when it comes to pregnancy. But we are here to help.

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