Female Sexual Dysfunction
This is an abbreviated version of the complete article.*
||Female sexual dysfunction is much more common than was previously thought.
||Complaints of female sexual dysfunction are more prevalent in older women than in younger women.
||Medical conditions, such as vascular disease, can cause direct or indirect sexual difficulties.
||Treatment for sexual dysfunction always includes education to become more knowledgeable about sex and normal sexual function.
Female sexuality is a complicated process, influenced by psychological and physical factors. A woman's attitudes toward her body, the sexual act, and her partner can cause sexual dysfunction. Physical factors such as brain function, the health of the circulatory system, and hormone levels are also major influences. Experts categorize sexual dysfunction as one or more of the following:
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
- Decreased libido, or sexual desire;
- Orgasmic disorder, such as anorgasmia, or lack of orgasm;
- Painful intercourse, or dyspareunia; and
- Vaginal dryness, or decreased lubrication.
Loss of libido: Menopause, with its drop in estrogen and testosterone levels, may decrease a woman's sexual desire. Some other potential causes include:
Anorgasmia: Some potential causes of anorgasmia may include:
- Medications, such as antidepressants;
- Alcohol abuse; and
Painful intercourse: Potential causes of painful intercourse may include:
- Lack of sexual experience;
- Psychological inhibitions;
- Medication use; and
- Chronic disease.
Vaginal dryness: Changes in estrogen level can cause vaginal dryness. Other potential causes may include:
- Lack of lubrication;
- Vaginal atrophy;
- Congestion, adhesion, or infection of the pelvis or associated organs;
- Vaginal yeast infections; and
- Urinary disorders, such as cystitis, or bladder infection.
Factors that can contribute to sexual dysfunction in general may include:
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy;
- Medications, such as contraceptives or cold medicines;
- Certain illness, such as diabetes mellitus; and
- Stress or anxiety.
- Lack of sexual education;
- Psychological factors, such as fear of failure;
- Nerve disorders, such as Parkinson's disease;
- Circulatory disorders;
- Medications, such as tranquilizers or anti-anxiety agents;
- Alcohol; and
- Degenerative health conditions, such as chronic renal failure.
To determine the exact nature of a female sexual dysfunction problem, a physician will ask a patient about her medical and sexual history. Next, the physician will examine the patient for any physical abnormalities or indications of the medical conditions associated with sexual dysfunction. This examination may include:
- Blood tests;
- Urine tests;
- A pelvic examination;
- X rays; and
- Endoscopic examination.
Loss of libido: Currently no medications can increase sexual desire in women. If no physical reason can be found for loss of desire, a physician may suggest that a woman seek individual or couples counseling. During menopause, testosterone supplementation has shown success in reinvigorating a woman's sex drive.
Anorgasmia: Treatment might include:
Painful intercourse: Some treatment methods may include:
- Relaxation techniques;
- Using masturbation or a vibrator to improve sexual responsiveness;
- Muscular control of sexual tension; or
Vaginal dryness: Treatments may include one or more of the following:
- Topical vaginal estrogen cream;
- Antidepresssants or antispasmodics;
- Genital or clitoral suction devices;
- Behavior therapy and vaginal relaxation exercises; and
- Proper hygiene.
- Increased foreplay;
- Over-the-counter lubricants;
- Topical vaginal estrogen creams; or
- Hormone replacement therapy.
Medical Review Date: August 10, 2009
*If you would like to read this article in its entirety, please call our office and ask to meet with one of our specialists to receive a Prescription Pad form.
*If you already have a Prescription Pad form, please login and follow the instructions listed on the form. If you experience any issues during the registration process, please call member services at 1-800-603-1420 for assistance.
Copyright © 2013 NorthPoint Domain, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material cannot be reproduced in digital or printed form without the express consent of NorthPoint Domain, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distribution of NorthPoint Domain's Content is an infringement of the copyright holder's rights.
|Word to look up:
|The results will appear in a new window.