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Understanding Female Sexual Dysfunction

womens healthLow libido and other sexual problems are common complaints for women. Persistent sexual problems are known as female sexual dysfunction. Most women experience sexual dysfunction at one time or another. Whether the problem is sudden or ongoing, it can occur at any stage in life.

Four Types of Female Sexual Dysfunction

Some women experience more than one type of sexual dysfunction. Low sexual desire is the most common type. It involves a diminished sexual libido or a complete loss of sex drive. A lack of sexual desire makes it impossible to enjoy the sexual experience.

Women with sexual arousal disorder experience sexual desire, but they are unable to maintain arousal during sexual intercourse. Those with orgasmic disorder cannot achieve sexual orgasm despite adequate stimulation. A fourth type of female sexual dysfunction, sexual pain disorder, occurs when sexual stimulation or intercourse causes physical pain.

Who Does Female Sexual Dysfunction Affect?

Female sexual dysfunction affects women and their sexual partners. Older adults are more likely to experience the effects due to menopause or aging, but sexual dysfunction can impact people in all stages of life. Most sexual problems have a physical or psychological cause, and some have both.

A variety of factors affect a woman’s sexual desire and response. They include physical health, emotional issues, spiritual beliefs, job and lifestyle, relationships and experiences. A disruption in any of these areas can affect desire, arousal and orgasm. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat female sexual dysfunction.

Common Treatments for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Ideally, the treatment for female sexual dysfunction involves a team effort between a woman, her doctor and qualified therapists. Most sexual problems improve when the underlying physical or psychological problems are addressed. Other strategies involve sex education, sexual stimulation enhancements, relaxation and distraction techniques, couples’ exercises and pain relief.

Sex education includes information about human anatomy, sexual functions and behaviors, age-related changes and more. Sexual stimulation enhancement involves the use of erotic materials and masturbation. Distraction techniques use fantasies, sexual exercises, music and videos to encourage relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Some women experience pain during sex. Changing sexual positions can help women control penis penetration and alleviate some of the pain. Warm baths and vaginal lubricants are other helpful treatments.

How Do Hormones Affect Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Hormones are tremendously important to female sexual functioning. Decreased levels of estrogen during menopause cause women to experience physical and emotional changes that affect their sexual desire and performance.

Lower testosterone levels also affect desire, arousal and satisfaction. Researchers continue to investigate the benefits of hormones, aphrodisiacs and other drugs to treat female sexual problems.

Although most women experience sexual dysfunction from time to time, persistent problems cause emotional distress for women and their partners. Female sexual dysfunction can put a strain on relationships and exacerbate the problem. Women who consistently experience sexual problems should seek medical help, psychological counseling or both.

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