A population-based cross-sectional study of gynaecological and sexual diseases in rural women was done in two Indian villages. Of 650 women who were studied, 55% had gynaecological complaints and 45% were symptom-free. 92% of all women were found to have one or more gynaecological or sexual diseases, and the average number of these diseases per woman was 3.6. Infections of the genital tract contributed half of this morbidity. Only 8% of the women had undergone gynaecological examination and treatment in the past. There was an association between presence of gynaecological diseases and use of female methods of contraception, but this could explain only a small fraction of the morbidity. In the rural areas of developing countries, gynaecological and sexual care should be part of primary health care.