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Sexual health "may warn of illness"

A sexual health organisation is recommending that patients should be encouraged during GP appointments to share any issues they may have around their sexual health.

The British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) says that as well as helping to address any relationship-related issues, it may also reveal other health problems.

And the BSSM says that as well as not costing health services any more money, it could save them cash they could spend treating someone in the future.

Dr Geoff Hackett, a sexual health specialist at Good Hope Hospital, Birmingham, speaking at a BSSM briefing in central London, said sexual problems such as erectile dsyfunction can be a warning of heart problems, so if men were asked about the issue at regular appointments, it might show whether they have any heart problems too.

Sexual dysfunction can also lead to illnesses like depression, the BSSM also said.

Dr Hackett, who has worked in the field for more than 20 years, said: "A lot of women and men with sexual problems do present with depression and are often treated inappropriately."

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"Good Lord, my GP barely has time to discuss the problem I present with and would probably run screaming form the room if I made myself comfortable and said 'Now what would you like to know about my sex life?'" - Name and address supplied