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Sexual Problems in Women: Get Facts About Causes

What Causes Sexual Problems?

Sexual dysfunction can be a result of a physical or psychological problem.

  • Physical causes: Many physical and/or medical conditions can cause sexual problems. These conditions include diabetes, heart disease, neurological diseases, hormonal imbalances, menopause, chronic diseases such as kidney disease or liver failure, and
    alcoholism and drug abuse. In addition, the side effects of certain medications, including some
    antidepressant drugs, can affect sexual desire and function.
  • Psychological causes: These include work-related stress and anxiety, concern about sexual performance, marital or relationship problems, depression, feelings of guilt, and the effects of a past sexual trauma.

Who Is Affected by Sexual Problems?

Both men and women are affected by sexual problems. Sexual problems occur in adults of all ages. Among those commonly affected are those in
seniors, which may be related to a decline in health associated with

Symptoms and Treatment of Female Sexual Problems

When Desire Dies: Bringing Your Sex Drive Back to Life

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

“I used to enjoy making love with my husband but now it’s something I do just
to get him off my case. I can’t figure out where my
sexdrive went or how to get
it back. ”

“Once my partner and I ‘get started,’ I really enjoy our sex life. The
problem is I just don’t ever want to get started.”

“I always thought my husband and I would be making love until we were 90. But
I just turned 39 and my libido is nowhere to be found.”

If these sexual issues sound familiar, you’re clearly not alone. Experts say
that a lack of interest in making love — even with partners we adore in many
other ways — is not as unusual as we might think.

“A disappearing sex drive is a common problem — sometimes in
womenas young
as her 30’s — and while it hasn’t reached epidemic proportions yet, I think
we’re only seeing a small portion of the women who are affected,” says Rebecca
Amaru, MD, a gynecologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Indeed, in one global study of sexual problems published recently in the
Journal of ImpotenceResearch, up to 43% of women expressed a loss of sexual
desire, beginning as young as age 40. Similarly, up to 36% of women who were
having sex reported they weren’t enjoying it.

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    Can Female Sexual Problems Be Cured?

    The success of treatment for female sexual dysfunction depends on the underlying cause of the problem. The outlook is good for sexual problems related to a treatable or reversible physical condition. Mild dysfunction that is related to stress, fear, or anxiety often can be successfully treated with counseling, education, and improved communication between partners.

    How Do Hormones Affect Sexual Function?

    Hormones play an important role in regulating sexual function in women. With the decrease in the female hormone estrogen that is related to aging and menopause, many women experience some changes in sexual function as they age, including poor vaginal lubrication and decreased genital sensation. Further, research suggests that low levels of the male hormone testosterone also contribute to a decline in sexual arousal, genital sensation, and orgasm. Researchers still are investigating the benefits of hormones and other medications, including drugs like
    Viagra, to treat sexual problems in women.

    What Effect Does a Hysterectomy Have on Sexual Function?

    Many women experience changes in sexual function after a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). These changes may include a loss of desire as well as decreased vaginal lubrication and genital sensation. These problems may be associated with the hormonal changes that occur with the loss of the uterus. Furthermore, nerves and blood vessels critical to sexual function can be damaged during the surgery.

    How Does Menopause Affect a Woman’s Sexual Function?

    The loss of estrogen following menopause can lead to changes in a woman’s sexual functioning. Emotional changes that often accompany menopause can add to a woman’s loss of interest in sex and/or ability to become aroused.
    Hormone replacement therapyHRT — may improve certain conditions, such as loss of vaginal lubrication and genital sensation, which can create problems with sexual function.

    It should be noted that some postmenopausal women report an increase in sexual satisfaction. This may be due to decreased anxiety over getting
    pregnant. In addition, postmenopausal woman often have fewer child-rearing responsibilities, allowing them to relax and enjoy intimacy with their partners.


    Sexual Problems (Sex) in Women
    See pictures of sexual conditions and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
    See Images

    When Should I Call My Doctor About Sexual

    Many women experience a problem with sexual function from time to time. However, when the problems are persistent, they can cause distress for the women and her partner, and can have a negative impact on their relationship. If you consistently experience these problems, see your doctor for evaluation and treatment.

    WebMD Medical Reference


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