Many women experience problems with sexual function throughout their lives. However, when sexual problems continue to occur over a long period of time, a woman may be suffering from sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction is defined as any problems that prevent an individual from enjoying or receiving satisfaction from sexual activity.
Symptoms of Female Sexual Dysfunction
The most common concerns or symptoms of sexual dysfunction in women may include:
- Reduced sex drive
- Inability to maintain sexual arousal during sexual activity
- Inability to achieve orgasm
- Pain during sexual activity
Women who exhibit any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, and as a result have feelings of personal distress, are usually suffering from sexual dysfunction.
Causes of Female Sexual Dysfunction
Women may experience symptoms of sexual dysfunction at any age. Both physical conditions and psychological factors may contribute to the problem. Common causes of female sexual dysfunction may include:
- Hormonal changes such as the postpartum period and menopause
- Chronic illness or disease
- Antidepressants, blood pressure medications and antihistamines
- Past sexual trauma
Diagnosis of Female Sexual Dysfunction
Women who are experiencing sexual dysfunction are advised to speak with their doctors about their concerns. During the consultation, the doctor will discuss past sexual, medical and psychological histories to evaluate what may be contributing to the problem. A physical examination may be performed to rule out any physical causes for the problem.
Treatment for Female Sexual Dysfunction
Doctors may treat any underlying medical conditions and adjust any current medications that may be causing the sexual dysfunction. Additional treatments may vary depending on the patient and may include:
- Hormone therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Vaginal lubricants
- Reducing stress and anxiety
Aside from seeking medical treatment, patients are encouraged to communicate with their partner about their concerns. Enhanced communication may lead to a heightened level of intimacy, which may help to reduce symptoms.