Women’s Sexual Health Consultation Service

Women’s sexual health is an important and often ignored aspect of wellness across the life span. Many women experience sexual issues for years with limited guidance from their healthcare team, and often do not know where to turn for consultation and treatment. These concerns may include changes in sexual desire, pain with intimate activities, and a range of other challenges impacting sexual well-being.

While there are many products, procedures and services available that claim to cure sexual problems, few deliver consistent results. As an evidence-based, multidisciplinary, women’s sexual health consultation service, we know that addressing sexual satisfaction is often complex and involves several aspects of a woman’s life.

Our evaluations include the assessment of physical conditions, medication use, relationship health, emotional well-being, current and prior trauma, knowledge and understanding of sexuality and sexual health, and other issues that are important to our patients. Many women do best when they receive multidisciplinary care that may include specialists from OB-GYN, clinical health psychology, psychiatry, urogynecology, primary care, oncology, physical therapy, and other health providers.

A multidisciplinary solution to improve sexual health

Many women have sexual issues for years, don’t seek help & often don’t know where to get treatment. Our sexual health consultation services can help.
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Sexual health conditions we treat, from low sex drive to intimacy anxiety

  • Low sex desire.
  • Difficulty with penetration.
  • Pain with sexual activity.
  • Difficulty/absence of orgasm.
  • Postpartum sexual health changes.
  • Sexual changes related to infertility.
  • Sexual concerns during or after menopause.
  • Sexual issues during and after cancer treatment.
  • Sexual changes related to other physical conditions and their treatments.
  • Anxiety about sexual intimacy.
  • Persistent genital arousal.
  • Other sexual concerns.

Treatment approaches

  • Education and guidance.
  • Physical exam and treatment of gynecologic conditions related to sexual symptoms.
  • Medication treatment or adjustment.
  • Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants.
  • Vaginal dilators/devices.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Sex therapy for an individual and/or couple.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Coordination of care with other healthcare providers.
  • Other treatments as needed.

Who works at the Women’s Sexual Medicine Service?

In a joint effort between the departments of OB-GYN, psychiatry and colleagues from other departments and services at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Lauren Harrington, MD, FACOG, Jessica Pettigrew, MSN, CNM, Helen L. Coons, Ph.D., ABPP, and Winnifred M. Hunter, Ph.D., have established a multidisciplinary sexual medicine consultation service for women across the life span. Providers routinely consult with experts from specialties including primary care, urogynecology, medical/surgical/radiation oncology, physical therapy, colorectal surgery, psychiatry and others.

Sexual Health Consultation Service provider Jessica Pettigrew, CNM | CU OB-GYN & Family PlanningJessica Pettigrew, MSN, CNM, (She, her, hers) graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing from Yale University in 2009. She is a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at University of Colorado with a planned completion date of summer 2023. Pettigrew is a senior instructor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Colorado School of Medicine. She sees sexual functioning as an essential part of healthy relationships and women’s health. She enjoys partnering with patients to help them achieve their goals. Pettigrew is a member of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, the International Pelvic Pain Society, and the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer. She presents to local and national audiences on female sexual well-being, vulvodynia, menopause and pelvic pain.

Sexual Health Consultation Service provider Winnifred Hunter, Ph.D. | CU OB-GYN & Family Planning

Winnifred M. Hunter, Ph.D. (She, her, hers) is a senior instructor/clinical psychologist, Women’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Line, department of psychiatry, Colorado School of Medicine. She is also collaborator for the Women’s Sexual Health Consultation Service. She provides interdisciplinary behavioral healthcare, specializing in helping patients optimize their sexual health and well-being. Dr. Hunter’s experiences and training include the Sex and Couples Therapy Service in Montreal, Canada. While there, she developed her expertise in the treatment of vulvodynia as well as other psychosexual concerns. Dr. Hunter provides evidence-based therapy, drawing from cognitive behavior, relational-cultural, and acceptance and commitment therapy to promote recovery, resilience and well-being. Dr. Hunter received her Ph.D. from McGill University, Montreal. She interned at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center. She is a member of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health and of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Dr. Hunter has practiced as a clinical psychologist in integrated primary care clinics, hospital in-patient settings and private practice. Dr. Hunter is a bilingual psychologist, providing therapy in both English and French.

Lauren Harrington, MD, FACOG, (She, her, hers) Dr. Lauren Harrington earned her medical degree from the University of Colorado and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University. Dr. Harrington chose obstetrics and gynecology because she is passionate about helping women lead healthy, informed and empowered lives. She quickly builds rapport and trust with each of her patients. From welcoming a teenager to a first visit, to guiding a woman through childbirth, to navigating the transition through menopause, Dr. Harrington enjoys partnering with patients of all ages. Throughout each visit with a patient, Dr. Harrington has an open and curious mind, warm demeanor and trauma-informed approach. By creating a caring and calm space, she finds patients have an easier time voicing their concerns and questions.

Sexual Health Consultation Service provider Dr. Helen Coons | CU OB-GYN | CO

Helen L. Coons, Ph.D., ABPP, (She, her, hers) is a board-certified clinical health psychologist who specializes in women’s health and mental health. She is an associate professor and clinical director, Women’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Line, department of psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine. For the past two decades, Dr. Coons has collaborated with healthcare providers to treat women across their life span who have sexual wellness concerns. She is a member of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health and the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer. Dr. Coons routinely presents to local, state and national professional and community audiences on improving body image and sexual health in women with cancer and other physical conditions. She also enjoys serving as an expert source for media on articles related to women’s health and mental health.

Making an appointment at the Women’s Sexual Medicine Service

Women’s sexual health consultations are offered at the Cherry Creek Medical Center, at the OB-GYN clinic at the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion, or through the Women’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Outpatient Services on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Some visits may be offered via telehealth. Starting in April 2022, Jessica Pettigrew will also offer services at the CUMedicine OBGYN facility in Central Park. To request an appointment, call 720-516-9410 or 303-872-5949.