Female Sexual Dysfunction
Female sexual response involves a complex interplay of physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and relationships. Disruption of any of these components can affect sexual desire, response, arousal or satisfaction. Persistent, recurrent problems with these that distress you or strain your relationship with your partner are known medically as female sexual dysfunction.
In the United States approximately 40 million women suffer from sexual disorders, that is 35%-40% of our female population. Symptoms may include:
- Low sexual desire. This most common of female sexual dysfunctions involves a lack of sexual interest and willingness to be sexual.
- Sexual arousal disorder. Your desire for sex might be intact, but you have difficulty with arousal or are unable to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity.
- Orgasmic disorder. You have persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation.
- Sexual pain disorder. You have pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.
Several factors, often interrelated, may contribute to or increase your risk of sexual dysfunction:
- Physical. Any number of medical conditions, including cancer, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and bladder problems, can lead to sexual dysfunction. Certain medications, including some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines and chemotherapy drugs, can decrease your sexual desire and your body’s ability to experience orgasm.
- Hormonal. Lower estrogen levels after menopause may lead to changes in your genital tissues and sexual responsiveness. A decrease in estrogen leads to decreased blood flow to the pelvic region, which can result in needing more time to build arousal and reach orgasm, as well as less genital sensation.
- Psychological and social. Untreated anxiety or depression can cause or contribute to sexual dysfunction, as can long-term stress and a history of sexual abuse. The worries of pregnancy and demands of being a new mother may have similar effects.
Long-standing conflicts with your partner — about sex or other aspects of your relationship — can diminish your sexual responsiveness, as well. Cultural and religious issues and problems with body image also can contribute.
If sexual problems affect your relationship or worry you, make an appointment with our office for evaluation. Let us help.