Persistent and recurring problems in terms of sexual response, desire, orgasm, or pain, which cause distress or stress in the relationship with the husband, are known medically as the female sexual dysfunction.
Many women experience sexual function problems that can occur at any stage of life. These problems can occur in certain sexual situations only or in all sexual situations.
The sexual response includes a set of intertwined elements of psychological state, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle, and relationships. The disorder that affects any part can affect sexual desire, arousal, or consent, and treatment often involves more than one method.
Decreased sexual desire
This is the most common symptom of female sexual dysfunction and is characterized by the loss of interest in sex and a desire to have sex
Sexual arousal disorder
Your desire to have sex may be healthy, but you suffer from difficulty related to arousal or the inability to feel or maintain it during sexual activity.
Suffering from permanent or repeated difficulty reaching orgasm after reaching an adequate level of sexual arousal or continuous stimulation.
Sexual pain disorder
Feeling pain associated with sexual arousal or vaginal contact.
Sexual problems often occur when hormones are unstable, especially after childbirth or menopause. Moreover, serious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease may also contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Factors that contribute to female sexual dysfunction include:
Many medical conditions cause sexual dysfunction, including cancer, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and bladder problems. Some medications can reduce sexual desire and the body’s ability to reach orgasm, including blood pressure medications, chemotherapy drugs, and antihistamines.
Low estrogen levels after menopause may cause changes in the genital tissues and sexual response. The lack of estrogen leads to a lack of blood flow in the pelvic region, which may cause arousal difficulties and make reaching orgasm take longer.
The vaginal lining becomes drier and less flexible, especially if you are not sexually active. These factors lead to painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Sexual desire also decreases when hormone levels are low.
Levels of hormones in the body also change after giving birth and during breastfeeding, which can lead to dryness of the vagina and affect sexual desire.
Psychological and social factors
Untreated depression or anxiety may cause or contribute to sexual dysfunction, as does long-term psychological stress. Anxiety about pregnancy and becoming a mother can also cause similar effects.
Long-term problems with the husband – about sex or other aspects of the relationship – may reduce the sexual response as well.
To diagnose female sexual dysfunction, your doctor may:
- Discuss your sexual and medical history. It may not be easy for you to talk to your doctor about these personal matters, but your sexual activity is an essential part of your wellness. The more you disclose your sexual history and current problems, the better your chance of finding an effective way to address them.
- Perform a pelvic examination. During the examination, your doctor will examine the physical changes that affect your sexual enjoyment, such as vaginal atrophy, decreased skin elasticity, scarring or pain.
- Request blood tests. Your doctor may request blood tests to check the underlying health conditions that may contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Your doctor may also refer you to a counsellor, or therapist specialized in sexual problems and relationships.
The ideal approach to treating sexual dysfunction in women involves a collective effort between the woman, the partner, and the doctors together. Most types of sexual dysfunction can be treated by treating physical or psychological problems, by focusing on the following:
- Providing education. It is important to educate women about sexual function, behaviors and responses, as this helps them to overcome their concerns about sexual function and performance.
- Talk and listen. communicating with your partner makes a big difference in your sexual satisfaction. Even if you are not used to talking about what you like and dislike, learn to do so and providing feedback can help to set the stage for better intimacy.
- Maintain healthy lifestyle habits. Reduce alcohol intake, which can numb your sexual response. Try to be more active – regular physical activity can increase your stamina, improve your psychological state, and improve your feelings.
- Seek advice. Talk with a counsellor or a therapist about your sexual problems. Therapeutic sessions usually include instruction on how to enhance your sexual response, learning how to improve intimacy with your partner, and recommending couples’ books and exercises.
- Use a lubricant. A vaginal lubricant may help you during sex if you have vaginal dryness or feel pain during sexual intercourse.
Effective treatment for sexual dysfunction often requires treating an underlying medical condition or hormonal change. Your doctor may suggest that you change your medication or prescribe a new one.
Treating female sexual dysfunction associated with a hormonal cause may include:
- Estrogen therapy. A topical treatment which comes in the form of a vaginal ring, cream or tablets. This treatment benefits sexual function by improving vaginal functioning and elasticity, increasing vaginal blood flow and enhancing hydration.
- Ospemifene (Osphena) This drug is a modulator of selective estrogen receptors. It helps reduce pain during sex for women with vaginal atrophy.
- Androgen therapy. Androgen includes testosterone, which plays a role in healthy sexual function in women as well as men, although women have significantly lower levels of testosterone. This drug was initially developed as an antidepressant, then it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for low sexual desire in premenopausal women
The problems causing female sexual dysfunction are usually complex, so even the best medications are unlikely to work if other emotional or social factors remain unresolved. Our experienced doctors will help you overcome the underlying problems causing sexual dysfunction and aid you to enjoy a healthy life.