A more recent article on sexual dysfunction in women is available. See related patient information handout on sexual dysfunction in women , written by the author of this article. Related Editorial. Sexual dysfunction includes desire, arousal, orgasmic and sex pain disorders dyspareunia and vaginismus. Primary care physicians must assume a proactive role in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Long-term medical diseases, minor ailments, medications and psychosocial difficulties, including prior physical or sexual abuse, are etiologic factors.
Sexual Problems in Women | Dyspareunia | MedlinePlus
These problems may have physical or psychological causes. Physical causes may include conditions like diabetes, heart disease, nerve disorders, or hormone problems. Some drugs can also affect desire and function. Psychological causes may include work-related stress and anxiety. They may also include depression or concerns about marriage or relationship problems. For some women, the problem results from past sexual trauma.
Female Sexual Dysfunction: Evaluation and Treatment
Sexual dysfunction includes painful intercourse, painful contraction spasm of the vaginal muscles, and problems with sexual desire, arousal, or orgasm that cause distress. Depression or anxiety, other psychologic factors, disorders, and drugs can contribute to sexual dysfunction, as can the woman's situation, including relationship difficulties. To identify a problem, doctors often talk to both partners separately and together, and a pelvic examination is often necessary when the woman has pain or problems with orgasm. Improving the relationship, communicating more clearly and openly, and arranging the best circumstances for sexual activities can often help, regardless of the cause of sexual dysfunction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, or a combination of the two, can also help, as can psychotherapy.
Persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain — that distress you or strain your relationship with your partner — are known medically as sexual dysfunction. Many women experience problems with sexual function at some point, and some have difficulties throughout their lives. Female sexual dysfunction can occur at any stage of life. It can occur only in certain sexual situations or in all sexual situations.