Woman Millennials and Gen Xers can be very eloquent and outspoken in 140 characters or less, but in the doctor’s office they edit themselves about sexual health information that can guide recommendations for everything from cervical cancer screening to contraception. In a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, less than one in four women between ages 18 and 34 with a regular health care provider has initiated a conversation about her sexual health, and of those who had a conversation, four in ten weren’t too comfortable about it.[1]

The survey identified the type of relationship women 18 to 34 years of age have with their health care provider and the quality of their experiences with birth control. A total of 370 women between the ages of 18 and 34 participated in the online survey, which aimed to identify the type of relationship women have with their health care provider.

The Survey also found that:
– Only 13% of women who have used birth control or are considering birth control share details of their sexual health with their health care provider;[1]
– Less-than one-third of women are extremely satisfied with the discussions they have with health care providers during their visits, and with their overall relationship with their health care provider;[1]
– Among women who had used or considered using birth control, almost one out of four report negative feelings associated with discussing sexual health with their health care provider including embarrassment, unease and bashfulness.[1]

Lack of Communication
The lack of communication between patient and healthcare provider is counterintuitcervical, cancer, screening, ive. It?s also uncharacteristic from the generation that has led society into a new world of personal disclosure and information sharing and will continue to do so using social networks as they age. ‘Healthy Communication’, a resource-rich online kiosk, which can be found on iVillage. This new resource provides women with practical information about initiating productive discussions about sexual health during their annual health examinations. iVillage is the largest content-driven community for women online reaching 30 + million unique visitors per month.

Roshini Raj, MD, the noted women’s health expert and co-author of the new book What the Yuck?: The Freaky & Fabulous Truth About Your Body, says this communications gap may be affecting women’s health. Women who withhold information due to shyness or discomfort may end up mismatched by their doctors with birth control or other reproductive health information that doesn’t suit their lifestyles.

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“An average gynecological annual exam lasts just 15 minutes,so women need to overcome their reticence and maximize that time,” said Dr. Raj. “Sharing sexual lifestyle information with their physicians is not comfortable for many women and the resources at iVillage Health can help make it easier to have those conversations.”

Resources on the site include Digital Native-appropriate tools like regular articles by Dr. Raj and interactive tools to improve the quality of health conversations in the doctor’s office.

“We know that women often turn to the Web when they have health questions that concern themselves and their families,” said Jennifer Barrett, iVillage Health Editor. “iVillage Health was developed as a resource to empower women to become more informed and prepared patients.”

The survey was commissioned in 2009 by Opinion Research Corporation, on behalf of Schering Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.;Respondents were from online panel sources in the United States.

[1] Schering Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., HCP Communication Gap Survey, November 2009.

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