What are the Facts about Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Oct 17, 2013 | Last Updated: Jun 4, 2018

Female Sexual Dysfunction

What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Female Sexual dysfunction is a combination of disorders that cause persistent and recurrent problems during sexual activity. The common problems with FSD are: failing sexual response, low desire to have sex and failure to maintain arousal during sexual activity.

FSD is also a disorder characterized by inadequate lubrication or swelling responses present during sexual arousal and sexual activity. Physical or psychological conditions can affect female sexual response cycle hence leading to a type of FSD. Persistence of this condition can add up to one of the major causes of relationship problems.

What are the Facts on Female Sexual Dysfunction?

  • About 43% of women experience Female Sexual Dysfunction.
  • About 10% of women don’t achieve an orgasm.
  • About 22% of women often experience low sexual desire.
  • 2 out of 3 women have experienced painful intercourse at some time of their lives.
  • Breast-feeding is the common cause of inadequate vaginal lubrication hence painful intercourse.

What Causes Sexual Dysfunction?

Female Sexual Dysfunction

Causes of sexual dysfunction are grouped into 2 broad categories: physical and psychological causes.

Physical Causes:

  • Anemia: The diminished pelvic blood flow reduces sexual arousal. This causes inadequate genital stimulation.
  • Alcoholism: Alcohol causes physiological effects on sexual response cycle. These effects develop during the middle and late phases of female alcoholism. Among the common effects of alcoholism on women’s sex include low sexual desire, dyspareunia, vaginismus and orgasmic disorders.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes affects the peripheral nervous system and can impair genital sensitivity.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Among the hormonal conditions that can reduce sex dysfunction include lower estrogen levels. Estrogen is a female hormone associated with sexual desire. Low estrogen leads to low sexual desire, lack of sexual development and reduced clitoris and breast sensitivity. The female hormone level can change during breastfeeding and after birth hence affecting sexual desire.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Aspects of low self-esteem such as body image, cultural belief and some life failures can affect sexual responsiveness. In addition, embarrassment caused by conditions such as urinary inconsistencies cause low self-esteem. Private part injury even if cured can cause low self-esteem.
  • Anorexia or Obesity: Any eating disorder has a worse effect on sexual functionality. This is caused by the concerns over body shape leading to abnormal and emotional eating.
  • Drug Abuse: Birth control pills are the common drugs associated with loss of libido. In addition, antidepressants and drugs used to treat depression and anxiety are accused of causing inability to achieve orgasm.

Psychological Causes:

  • Depression: Great depressions such as guilty feelings and long-term sad feelings can reduce sexual performances in females. Constant poor communication during sex can lead lack of sexual interest.
  • Stress and Too Much Work: Long-term stress can cause female sexual functions. This includes unresolved conflict with your partner or any worrying aspects of your relationship. Work demands such as near impossible deadlines leads to lack of sexual desire.
  • Anxiety: Untreated anxiety can reduce sex drive. These include the worries of pregnancy and the demands of becoming a new mother.
  • Past Sexual Abuse: Past sexual problems such as painful intercourse, sexual trauma, injury and sexual abuse affects female sex drive.
  • Menopause: Menopause is stressful in itself. In addition, this stage tends to affect the hormone balance in the body. For example, there is a significant shift in hormonal balance during menopause that causes reduced estrogen hormone. Permanent lower estrogen causes the labia to become thin exposing the larger part of the clitoris. Exposing more of the clitoris causes it to become insensitive.
  • Latent Lesbianism: Lesbianism causes FSD through causing several conditions including, loss of libido, difficulty in reaching orgasm, painful intercourse, and lesbian bed death.
  • Hang-ups From Childhood: The impact of emotional responses during childhood and adolescence can be problematic and can cause FSD. For example, how childhood sexual abuse is handled can dictate later sexual dysfunction.

What are the Symptoms and Complications of Female Sexual Dysfunction?

  • Persistent inability to attain sexual arousal
  • Inability to maintain sexual arousal until the completion of a sexual activity
  • Presence of other sexual dysfunctions such as female sexual arousal disorder, Orgasmic disorder, sexual pain disorder and hypoactive sexual disorder
  • Lack of lubrication and swelling during sexual arousal
  • Low or absent sex desire
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Who Is Affected by Sexual Dysfunction?

FSD increases with age. Sex drive decrease is associated with aging. Adult women of all ages can be affected by a sexual problem. Those with declining health due to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurological conditions commonly experience FSD.

How Does Sexual Dysfunction Affect Women?

FSD causes several sexual related dysfunctions in women. The effects include lack of orgasm, painful intercourse, inability to become aroused and inhibited sexual desires. If these problems persist for long, they may cause distress for your sexual partner and bring another relationship problem.

How to Diagnose Female Sexual Dysfunction?

  • Examining the sexual and medical history
  • Performing a pelvic exam to determine physical changes such as thinning of sexual tissues, scarring and decreased skin sensitivity
  • Vaginal photoplethysmography
  • Vaginal PH testing and
  • A Biothesiometer

How to Treat Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Success in treating the FSD relies heavily on treating the causes of this problem. On the other hand, since several factors causing this condition, integrated approach can be helpful in gaining back your sexual satisfaction. Non-medical treatments such as raising your concerns with your partner, practicing healthy lifestyle habits, seeking counseling, and use of lubricants and use of arousal devices can help treat FSD.

Medical treatment for FSD requires hormonal therapy such as estrogen and androgen therapy. Other potential and drugs under research for female sexual dysfunction treatment include Bremelanotide, which has a potential to increase female libido by 90% and Femprox, a topical cream containing Prostaglandin E1, which is effective in treating female sexual arousal disorder.

How to Prevent Female Sexual Dysfunction?

Preventing FSD depends on the cause. If the medication is a problem, discuss it with your doctor to try changing your medication or regimen. If stress is the cause, avoid stress and avoid personal conflict, especially with your partner. Relationship counseling will help you maintain a healthy relationship with no conflict.

Female sexual dysfunction is up to no good. While it looks like a personal problem, in part is a social problem because it can affect your relationship. Treating this condition is a collective effort involving the patient, her partner and a doctor or therapists.

On the other hand, effective treatment is a combination of methods including, drugs, behavior change, improved communication and increasing self-esteem. It is good thing to start with social remedies and then go for medical drugs for extreme cases.

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