Female sexual dysfunction refers to recurring problems with sexual desire, response, orgasm, or pain. It occurs due to a combination of factors, including emotions, experiences, relationships, physiology, and lifestyle. Additionally, female sexual dysfunction can affect women at any age, and it may be a lifelong problem or occur later in a woman’s life.

Female Sexual Dysfunction Symptoms

Female sexual dysfunction symptoms vary. Some of the most common female sexual dysfunction symptoms include:

  • Limited Sexual Desire: Involves a lack of interest in sex.
  • Sexual Arousal Disorder: Occurs when a woman is interested in sex but has difficulty becoming aroused or staying aroused during sex.
  • Orgasmic Disorder: Results in difficulty achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and persistent stimulation.
  • Sexual Pain Disorder: Causes pain during sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.

Causes of Sexual Dysfunction in Women

There is no surefire cause for all cases of female sexual dysfunction. In many instances, female sexual dysfunction occurs due to one or more factors, and these factors include:

  • Physical: Cancer, kidney failure, heart disease, and other medical conditions sometimes cause female sexual dysfunction. Additionally, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and other medicines have been shown to decrease sexual desire and hinder the body’s ability to experience orgasm.
  • Hormonal: Reduced estrogen levels after menopause may impact a woman’s genital tissues and sexual responsiveness. They also may reduce blood flow to the pelvic region, which means a woman may require additional time to become aroused and reach orgasm. Meanwhile, the body’s hormone levels change after a woman gives birth and during breast-feeding, and this may cause vaginal dryness that impacts a woman’s desire to have sex.
  • Psychological: Anxiety and depression sometimes contribute to female sexual dysfunction.

Understanding the different factors that may contribute to a woman’s sexual dysfunction is key. If a woman can pinpoint the factors behind sexual dysfunction, she may be better equipped than ever before to determine the best way to treat this problem.

Types of Sexual Dysfunction

There are four main categories of sexual dysfunction in females:

  • Desire Disorders: There are two types of sexual desire disorders: hypoactive sexual desire disorder and sexual aversion disorder. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder involves an ongoing lack of sexual desire or limited response to sexual activity. Comparatively, sexual aversion disorder refers to a persistent aversion to genital contact with a sexual partner.
  • Arousal Disorders: Arousal disorders make it difficult for a woman to engage in sex without sufficient lubrication. These disorders affect approximately 5% of women, and they are often linked to medical conditions or medications.
  • Orgasmic Disorders: Orgasmic disorders refer to an ongoing delay in or absence of orgasm. There are two types of orgasmic disorders: primary and secondary. Whereas a primary orgasmic disorder refers to an inability to achieve orgasm, secondary orgasmic disorder involves the inability to achieve orgasm as the result of another type of sexual dysfunction.
  • Sexual Pain Disorders: Sexual pain disorders occur due to persistent genital pain associated with sexual intercourse not caused by insufficient lubrication. They generally affect between 1% and 6% of women and are often associated with medical conditions and medications.

Female Sexual Dysfunction Treatments

There are several different types of female sexual dysfunction treatments. These include:

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Pelvic floor therapy helps women address Levator ani syndrome, which has been shown to cause pain, pressure, and other physical problems during sex.

Treatments for Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal atrophy refers to thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a lack of estrogen. Treatments to address this issue include topical estrogen, oral hormone replacement therapy, and vaginal lubricants.

ThermiVa
A ThermiVa treatment is a non-surgical female sexual dysfunction treatment that involves the use of radiofrequency energy to gently heat vaginal tissue.

Labiaplasty or Pelvic Organ Prolapse Repair
Labiaplasty is used to reduce the length of the labia. Or, pelvic organ prolapse repair may be required to address pelvic organs that push into the vaginal canal and weaken the pelvic muscles.

Treatments for Female Incontinence
Stress incontinence refers to bladder leakage that occurs due to movement that puts pressure on the bladder. It sometimes can lead to sexual problems, and a series of incontinence treatments may be used to correct this issue.

Combination of Treatments
One or more of the aforementioned treatments may be used to address female sexual dysfunction.

At Comprehensive Urology, Dr. Cristina Palmer specializes in female sexual dysfunction treatments, and she is happy to teach patients about different treatment options. Together, a patient and Dr. Palmer can discover the best way to address female sexual dysfunction and prevent recurring symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions on Female Sexual Dysfunction

Click on the question to see the answer

Q: Can female sexual dysfunction be cured?

A: Female sexual dysfunction is often treatable, but not all female sexual dysfunction cases can be cured.

Q: Does acupuncture help female sexual dysfunction?

A: In some instances, acupuncture has been shown to help women alleviate sexual problems. However, acupuncture offers no guarantees. And if a woman experiences sexual problems, she should consult with a doctor before pursuing acupuncture or other treatments.

Q: How common is female sexual dysfunction?

A: Recent research indicates female sexual dysfunction affects approximately half of all women.

Q: Is it possible to prevent female sexual dysfunction?

A: Female sexual dysfunction sometimes can be prevented. For example, limiting alcohol or recreational drug consumption and keeping medical conditions like diabetes under control may help a woman reduce the risk of sexual problems.

Q: Is female sexual dysfunction a disease?

A: Female sexual dysfunction is not a disease, but it may occur due to medical conditions and physical health issues.

Choose Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles for Female Sexual Dysfunction Treatment

At Comprehensive Urology, we are dedicated to helping women treat sexual dysfunction. To find out more, please contact us today at (310) 499-2756.

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The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.