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When it comes to having their private parts examined, more women prefer a physician of their own sex. But for treating a broken leg, women don't seem to give physician sex a second thought, according to a Norwegian study of women aged 36 to 55.

In fact, for general health care, women are downright indifferent to the sex of their physicians, reports Jon Ivan Elstad in Women and Health (Vol. 21, No. 4).

What really mattered to these women was having a caring doctor who made them feel comfortable and secure. And a great majority expressed a desire for doctors who invite the patient to participate in deciding treatment.

Sex of Physician

No

Female Male Difference

Overall Health Care: 35% 19% 47%

Gynecologic Examination: 43% 8% 48%

Personal Problems: 35% 6% 58%

Family Problems: 31% 5% 65%

Unknown Stomach Pain: 16% 5% 80%

Sleeplessness: 9% 4% 87%

Broken Leg: 2% 6% 91%

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