Let’s face it this is the elephant in the room. Every day you see multiple commercials about mens sexual dysfunction and medications to treat them. What about the women they are having sex with? Where are they getting their treatment?
Today we’re going to face the elephant in the room.
Many women experience problems with sexual dissatisfaction throughout their lives. According to The National Health Institute (NIH), approximately 40% of women suffer from sexual dysfunction and there are few treatment options.
Sexual dysfunction includes pain during intercourse, involuntary painful contraction (spasm) of the muscles around the vagina, lack of interest in (desire for) sex, and problems with arousal or orgasm. For a sexual dysfunction disorder to be diagnosed, these problems must cause distress to the woman.
Sexual dysfunction can occur at any age. It can occur only in certain situations, or in all situations. It can be related to physiology, emotions, beliefs, lifestyle, and relationships. It can affect desire, arousal, satisfaction, orgasm, and pain.
Causes are often interrelated and can include:
Physical conditions, such as cancer or kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and bladder problems are some of the medical conditions that affect sexual function.
Certain medications including antidepressants, blood pressure medication, antihistamines, and chemotherapy drugs can decrease sexual desire, and the ability to orgasm.
Hormonal changes, including decreased estrogen, after menopause can have effects on sexual responsiveness and genital tissue. Thinning of the vaginal lining and less elasticity can often cause painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
Childbirth and breastfeeding can lead to vaginal dryness and decrease the desire to have sex.
Untreated anxiety and depression can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Anti-anxiety medication can decrease desire. Pregnancy can have an effect on sexual satisfaction.
Relationship conflicts about sex, or even other aspects of your relationship can diminish your responsiveness as well as desire. Religion and cultural issues can often pose problems. Body image can also be a strong contributor to sexual dysfunction.
Women with depression, anxiety, heart disease, neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries, vulvovaginal atrophy, and infections are at an increased risk for Sexual dysfunction. Emotional and psychological stress can increase your risk of female sexual dysfunction. A history of sexual abuse causes an increase in sexual dysfunction.
It’s important that you discuss your sexual and medical history with your provider in order to determine if a pelvic exam and blood test are indicated.
Female sexual dysfunction can be characterized by at least one of the following:
Pain during sexual activities
Loss of sexual desire
Inability to achieve orgasm
Female sexual dysfunction is diagnosed when any of these symptoms result in personal distress.
Keep in mind that sexual dysfunction is only a problem if it bothers you. If you are bothered and need treatment it’s important to remember that sexual dysfunction has many possible symptoms and causes there the treatment options vary greatly on individual needs.
Some basic questions to ask your provider about your sexual concerns include:
What might be causing my sexual difficulties?
Do I need medical tests?
What treatment do you recommend?
If you’re prescribing medication, are there possible side effects?
How much improvement can I reasonably expect with treatment?
Are there lifestyle changes or self-care steps that might help?
Do you recommend therapy?
Should my partner be involved in treatment?
Lifestyle and home remedies
To boost your sexual health, find ways to be comfortable with your sexuality, improve your self-esteem and accept your body. Try practicing these healthy lifestyle habits:
Avoid excessive alcohol. Drinking too much blunts sexual responsiveness.
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking restricts blood flow throughout your body. Less blood reaches your sexual organs, which means you could experience decreased sexual arousal and orgasmic response.
Be physically active. Regular aerobic exercise increases your stamina, improves your body image and elevates your mood. This can help you feel more romantic, more often.
Make time for leisure and relaxation. Learn ways to decrease stress, and allow yourself to relax amid the stresses of your daily life. Being relaxed can enhance your ability to focus on your sexual experiences and may help you attain more satisfying arousal and orgasm.
Medical treatments can include estrogen therapy, ospemifene, and androgen therapy including testosterone, filbanserin (Addyi®️), and bremelanotide (Vyleesi®️) to name a few.
Here at A New You Women’s Clinic A New You Women’s Clinic we are ready to help you with ongoing sexual difficulties. You may feel embarrassed to talk about sex with your provider, but we are here to help you achieve a satisfying, sex life, which is important to every woman’s well-being at any age.