Sexual dysfunction in women: Here's all you need to know

Sex is undeniably one of the most enjoyable, and exciting actions in your life.

Unhappy couple in bed(jivenaija)

No amount of discomfort should come in the way of having a good sexual experience. However, many face discomfort over sex and that can strain your relationship with your partner.

Sexual dysfunction among people, increasingly females poses a threat to their relationship with their respective partners.

Studies suggest that most relationships suffer silently due to unspoken sexual problems between the couple.

What is sexual dysfunction in women?

In medical terms, recurrent sexual problems like lack of sexual desire, orgasm or pain during intercourse can be classified under female sexual dysfunction. These problems can occur during any phase of the sexual response cycle i.e the sequence of emotional and physical changes that a person encounters when sexually aroused. This restricts the couple from experiencing the utmost satisfaction from sexual activity-something that they should enjoy variably.

Any woman can face it at any age in their life. Sexual dysfunction can occur due to problems in the sexual response cycle and those include a complex interplay of psychological, emotions, experiences, lifestyle and relationships.

Causes of sexual dysfunction in women?

Such issues mostly arise when the body’s hormones have gone astray i.e when you conceive a baby or during menopause. It can be due to psychological or physical problems. However, the following factors have a greater effect on sexual dysfunction:

  • Physical causes

Major illnesses like cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, bladder problems or any heart-related disease can also contribute to sexual dysfunction. Medication that comprises some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines and chemotherapy drugs, can decrease your sexual desire and your body's ability to experience orgasm. So it is advisable to strictly consult the doctor while taking these medicines.

  • Hormonal causes

During menopause, women’s bodies release lower estrogen levels that can change the genital tissues and alter sexual responsiveness. This results in decreased blood flow to the pelvic region which doesn’t give off much genital sensation, as well as the time to build arousal and reach orgasm. The vaginal lining can also possibly become thinner and less elastic if you're not sexually active. This can lead to painful intercourse, also known as dyspareunia. During birth or breastfeeding can also decrease hormonal levels and thus, there’s less sexual desire.

  • Psychological causes

Anxiety or depression are considered major causes of sexual dysfunction, as they may involve extreme stress or a history of emotions or sexual abuse. Pregnant women often stress about giving birth and their rapid bodily changes also result in similar effects. If you have issues or frequent fights with your partner, chances are that you have less sexual activity between you both.

Treatments

Women can work with their healthcare team to create a sexual dysfunction treatment plan. It’s important to understand the physical or psychological causes before choosing therapies. Here are some treatments to consider:

  • Arousal techniques

Talk to your partner about different ways you can enhance desire and arousal. Consider making changes to your sexual routine. You may also try erotic materials (sexual stimulation devices, videos or books), massage or masturbation.

  • Counselling

Talking with a mental health professional may help. You can work through emotional or psychological barriers to pleasurable sex. You may choose to have one-on-one counselling or couples counselling.

  • Hormone therapy

Depending on your symptoms, your provider may recommend topical creams, vaginally administered medications or hormones taken orally or applied to your skin.

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