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Female Sexual Problems
sexuality and female sexual
dysfunction are topics with a
lot of taboo attached to them,
even today. While the scene may
be changing gradually, thanks to
the internet, TV and magazines,
a lot of women are still too
embarrassed to discuss
sexuality-related issues openly.
Female sexuality and female sexual dysfunction are topics with a lot of taboo attached to them, even today. While the scene may be changing gradually, thanks to the internet, TV and magazines, a lot of women are still too embarrassed to discuss sexuality-related issues openly.
The term ‘sexuality’ is not limited to the act of sex alone. In fact, sexuality, for both men and women, is as much a psychological experience as it is a physical one; it realizes one’s physical and emotional need for intimacy, and defines one’s relationship with themselves as well as their partner.
What is female sexual dysfunction?
Medically speaking, a sustained problem with sexual desire, sexual response and orgasm or pain is called female sexual dysfunction. Approximately 50% of women (that’s one in every two women!) experience some form of sexual problem or dysfunction at some stage of their lives. The problem may arise out of disturbances in physiology, emotions, relationships or beliefs and/or a combination of these factors.
Physical causes behind sexual dysfunction are wide-ranging. Diabetes, neurological, heart, liver and kidney conditions, hormonal imbalances, menopause are some of the illnesses affecting sexual health. In addition, drug abuse, alcoholism and side effects of medications can interfere as well. On the other hand, psychological basis for dysfunction encompasses relationship issues, stress, anxiety and depression. Whatever the cause, both the partners in a relationship are affected by sexual dysfunction.
What symptoms should I pay attention to?
· When you find yourself lacking in sexual interest, unwilling to be sexually active
· When you are scared about, averse/phobic to any sexual interaction
· You have the desire for sex but finding it difficult to be aroused
· You have the desire, you also experience arousal but unable to reach climax (orgasm), or experiencing delay in orgasm
· Experiencing pain, burning sensation or significant discomfort during sexual activity
· Or anything about your sexuality that is disturbing to you
How is female sexual dysfunction diagnosed?
· A detailed personal history is the first step for evaluation of sexual dysfunction.
· Physical exam may be performed for general health, secondary sexual development, pelvic and genital factors, laboratory tests like blood picture, hormone & biochemical assays, sonography and other tests to rule out physical and physiological factors.
· Psycho-social factors are assessed that may include necessary psychological and sexology questionnaires. These tests will help the practitioner understand the influences of things like your attitude towards sex, anxiety, social and religious factors, relationship matters etc.
How is female sexual dysfunction treated?
· Treatment or management becomes necessary only if the sexual dysfunction bothers you. Mere reassurance might suffice for some people.
· Since female sexual dysfunction has multiple factors causing, perpetuating or perpetrating it, treatment is to suit each individual client separately. What works for one may not do so for the other.
· Treatment usually incorporates one or more of educating patient about the problem, giving specific suggestions, lifestyle changes, counseling, behavior- relationship- or other psychotherapies, sex therapy, drug/hormone treatment, surgical interventions, alternative modalities like herbal therapies.
When should I seek help?
While not all sexual problems need medical intervention (and several problems are temporary), one should consult a doctor when problems persist for more than a few weeks. Medical help should also be sought if a sexual problem is causing you anxiety or affecting the relationship with your partner. If a physical cause is ruled out, psychologist would be able to help.
Rights: Abhisarika, India