Female Sexual Dysfunction
You should receive a physical and pelvic examination from a medical doctor. Your doctor will review your medical history, medications, and may conduct tests, such as hormonal testing. Your doctor may refer you to a specialized counselor or sex therapist, depending on your issues.
Lifestyle changes may help improve your sex life. Avoiding alcohol, illegal drugs, and cigarettes and healthy eating and regular exercise may help. Participating in relaxing activities and taking time for yourself amid a busy day can help. Create an environment that is romantic and comfortable for you and your partner. It may help to plan sexual activity at a place or time that is free of distractions or interruptions.
Counseling may help to resolve issues of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. A therapist can help you examine and resolve your beliefs and attitudes about sex. Sex therapy may include education and suggestions for enhancing intimacy with your partner.
Medical treatment for female sexual dysfunction includes addressing physical or psychological problems. In many cases, medications or a change in existing medication may help to treat underlying conditions. Some women may benefit from hormone medications or surgery. Your doctor can educate you about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Am I at Risk
Several interrelated factors may contribute to sexual dysfunction or dissatisfaction including:
_____ Sexual difficulties may increase during times of hormonal change, such as during pregnancy, after giving birth, while breast feeding, or during menopause.
_____ Hormonal changes during menopause may cause your genital tissues to change and your vagina to become narrower and dryer. This may lead to inadequate lubrication and slower arousal.
_____ Your sexual response may change if you are experiencing a serious illness, such as cancer.
_____ Physical conditions, including arthritis, urinary or bowel problems, fatigue, headache, or neurological disorder, can lead to sexual problems.
_____ Certain medications, such as antidepressants, high blood pressure medication, antihistamines, and chemotherapy, can decrease your sex drive and reduce your ability to achieve orgasm.
_____ Conflict with your partner, stress at home or work, over-scheduling, or parenting issues are examples of social factors that can contribute to sexual problems.
_____ Untreated anxiety, depression, or other psychiatric disorders can contribute to sexual dysfunction.
_____ Women with a history of domestic violence, abuse, sexual assault, or rape may experience sexual difficulties.
_____ Cultural or religious issues may contribute to sexual problems.
_____ Many factors about your sexual partner can contribute to your sexual satisfaction, including the quality of your relationship, communication, emotional expression, emotional affection, and sexual performance.
_____ Your self-image or feelings about your physical appearance or weight may contribute to your sexuality.
_____ Distraction in your environment may interfere with your ability to respond sexually. Examples of distractions include the TV, crying or noisy children, traffic noise, etc.
_____ Infection or sexually transmitted disease may cause discomfort or irritation during sexual contact.
_____ Feelings of fear or shame about sex may contribute to sexual dysfunction.
_____ Fear of pregnancy, pain, or infection may contribute to sexual dysfunction.
_____ Too much alcohol, substance abuse, cigarette smoking, and lack of exercise can affect your sexual health, as well as overall health.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.