Sexual Dysfunction Q & A
Q1. What is female sexual dysfunction?
Female dysfunction (sexual) is characterized by recurrent and persistent problems with sexual desire, pain, orgasm or response. These female problems can cause difficulties in your relationship and also significant distress in your personal life.
Q2. What are the symptoms of female sexual dysfunction?
Symptoms of FSD female dysfunction vary in different females and depend on the kind of female dysfunction you are having:
- Reduced sexual desire: This is the most common type of female sexual problem and in this; there is a lack of interest in sexual activities and no willingness to get involved in sexual acts.
- Sexual arousal disorder: In this type of female sexual problem, you have an intact sexual desire, but you are not able to become aroused or have difficulty in getting aroused or maintain arousal at the time of sexual activity.
- Sexual pain disorder: In this condition, you have pain on vaginal contact or sexual stimulation.
- Orgasmic disorder: In this type of female sexual problem you have recurrent or persistent inability to achieve climax (female) or orgasm even after you are aroused sufficiently.
Q3. What are the causes of female sexual dysfunction?
A sexual problem often occurs when there is an inflow of hormones in your body, such as during menopause or after giving birth to a baby. Major medical diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer can also result in sexual problems of women.
Factors that may contribute to sexual problems of women are:
- Physical: Certain medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, bladder problems, and heart disease may result in sexual dysfunction in females. You can also have diabetes and sexual dysfunction due to this disease. Certain medicines including blood pressure medicines, chemotherapy drugs, antihistamines, and some antidepressants can also reduce your desire to have sex.
- Hormonal: Reduced levels of estrogen after menopause causes changes in the tissues of the genital area and reduces sexual responsiveness and desire. Your ability to reach orgasm is reduced. Similarly, after delivering a baby and during lactation, there is a shift in your hormone levels that can result in dryness of the vagina and reduce your sexual desire.
- Social and psychological: Untreated depression or anxiety can contribute to or cause female dysfunction (sexual) along with a history of sexual abuse and long-term stress. The stress due to pregnancy and caring for a new baby may produce similar effects. Having long-standing disputes with your partner can also diminish your sexual desire. Religious and cultural issues and female problems related to body image can also lead to sexual dysfunction.
Q4. What are the risk factors of sexual dysfunction?
The factors that can increase your risk of developing sexual dysfunction are:
- Anxiety and depression
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gynecological conditions including infections, lichen sclerosis or vulvovaginal sclerosis
- Neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury
- Certain medicines such as blood pressure medicines or antidepressants
- A personal history of having sexual abuse
- Psychological or emotional stress, particularly about your strained relationship with your partner
Q5. How is sexual dysfunction diagnosed?
To diagnose female dysfunction (sexual), your physician may:
- Discuss your medical and sexual history: The more open you are about your medical and sexual history with your physician, the better is the likelihood of finding an effective treatment.
- Perform a pelvic examination: During the pelvic exam, your physician checks for any physical changes, which may be affecting your sexual desire and enjoyment. These include thinning of the genital tissues, reduced skin elasticity, pain or scarring.
- Recommend blood tests: Your physician may recommend certain blood tests to rule out underlying medical illnesses that may lead to female problems.
Q6. How is female sexual dysfunction treated?
Females with a sexual problem are most often benefitted by a combined approach of treatment that addresses both medical and emotional and relationship issues.
Nonmedical treatment for female dysfunction (female)
For the treatment of your sexual problem, your physician may recommend you to start with the following strategies:
- Talk and listen to your partner as communicating openly with your partner helps in improving your sexual desire and satisfaction.
- Choose lifestyle habits to stay healthy. Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages as drinking excessively can reduce your sexual desire. Quit smoking if you are a smoker as smoking reduces the flow of blood to your sexual organs. This can reduce your sexual arousal. Do regular physical exercise as physical activity helps in increasing your stamina and elevating your mood; thereby, enhancing feelings of romance. Practice ways to reduce your stress levels such as doing breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.
- Go for counseling. Talk with a therapist or counselor specializing in relationship and sexual problems.
- Use a vaginal lubricant if you have dryness of vagina and painful sexual intercourse.
- Try a sexual device. Arousal during sex can be enhanced by stimulating the clitoris. You can use a vibrator to stimulate your clitoris during sex.
Medical treatment for female dysfunction (sexual):
Treating sexual dysfunction effectively often needs treatment of an underlying medical issue or hormonal changes. Your physician may change a medicine you are already taking or prescribe a new medicine.
To treat sexual problems of women those are caused by hormonal changes your physician may suggest the following:
- Estrogen therapy: You can use estrogen locally in the form of a cream, tablet or vaginal ring. The therapy improves elasticity and tone of the vagina, increases its blood flow and enhances lubrication.
- Ospemifene (Osphena): This medicine helps in reducing the pain during sexual intercourse in females who have vulvovaginal atrophy.
- Flibanserin (Addyi): This drug has been approved by the FDA to treat low sexual desire or sexual dysfunction in premenopausal females. Some of the serious adverse effects of the drug include sleepiness, low blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and fainting, especially if the drug is taken along with alcohol. You should stop the drug if you don’t find any benefit in your sexual desire after taking it for eight weeks.
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