Female Sexual Dysfunction

1 What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Female sexual dysfunction is a medical condition that is accompanied by persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain during intercourse.

It can cause distress or affect the relationship of a woman with her partner. Many women are affected by sexual dysfunction at some point of their lives.

It can occur at any stage of life and can be lifelong or acquired later in life. Sexual response normally involves a complex interplay of physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and relationships. A disruption in any one of these components can affect sexual desire, arousal or satisfaction.

Several approaches are used in the treatment of sexual dysfunction.

2 Symptoms

Symptoms vary with the type of female sexual dysfunction.

They may include:

  • Low sexual desire is the most common cause od sexual dysfunction
  • Disorders with sexual arousal
  • Orgasmic disorders in which a woman may have persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving an orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation
  • Pain during intercourse
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3 Causes

Female sexual dysfunction is usually caused when there are fluctuations in the levels of hormones like after a woman gives birth or during menopause.

Hormonal imbalances can lead to changes in the genital tissues and reponsiveness. This mostly occurs due to the low levels of estrogen during menopause.

A decrease in the levels of estrogen causes a reduction the the amount of blood flowing to the pelvic region which can increase the time needed for arousal and the time to reach an orgasm.

The lining of the vagina can also become thin and less elastic especially if a woman is not sexually active. This can lead to painfuln intercourse. Anxiety and depression, if not treated can cause sexual dysfunction.

Some diseases like cancer, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases can also be causes of sexual dysfunction.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Doctors usually do the following in order to diadnose female sexual dysfunction:

  • Asking the patient her family and sexual history
  • Performing a pelvic examination to check if there is a thinning of genital tisues, decreased skin elasticity, sacrring or pain

5 Treatment

Treatment for female sexual dysfunction involves nonmedical treatment and medical treatment.

Nonmedical treatment for female sexual dysfunction include:

  • Practising healthy lifestyle habits like eating a healthy diet, not smoking and avoiding the consumption of large quantities of alcohol. Decreasing stress levels can also prove to be effective.
  • Talking to a therapist about sexual an drelationship problems
  • Using a vaginal lubricant if a woman experiences vaginal dryness
  • Using a vibrator to stimulate the clitoris and thus stimulate arousal

Medical treatment involves the administration of medications to treat sexual dysfunction. This treatment is usually given in women in menopause or experiencing hormonal changes.

Therapies used include:

  • Estrogen therapy, in which estrogen in form of tablets or creams is given to improve the tone and elasticity of the vagina.
  • Androgen therapy, in which testosterone is given to to increase the sexual function.
  • Flibanserin ( Addyi) is an antidepresant that can be used to treat sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women. A daily pill is usually sufficient to improve sexual desire. Side effects like low blood pressure, sleepiness, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and fainting may occur when a woman is taking flibanserin. Other potentially effective treatments include using tibolone, a steroid drug that is used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis and phosphodiesterase inhibitors that are usually used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. Women taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) for depression may be prescribed sildenafil (Viagra) for sexual dysfunction.

6 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Alternative remedies used to improve the symptoms of female sexual dysfunction include:

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with female sexual dysfunction.

A woman can boost her sexual health by practicing healthy lifestyle habits like:

  • avoiding excessive alcohol consumption,
  • quitting smoking,
  • exercising regularly,
  • decreasing levels of stress.

8 Risks and Complications

Some of the risks that increase the chances of having female sexual dysfunction include:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diseases of the heart and blood vessels
  • Nuerological diseases like multiple sclerosis
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Certain medications like high blood pressure drugs and antidepressants
  • Emotional or psychological stress
  • A history of sexual abuse
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