Many women have a low sex drive or trouble having an orgasm. Some women are not bothered by this, but others are. A woman has female sexual dysfunction, also called FSD, when she is upset or unhappy about her sexual health. Studies show that about 33% of American women have low sex drive. Of those, about one in three women are upset about having low sex drive. That’s about 10% of all women in the United States.
There are several types of sexual dysfunction:
A woman might have more than one of these issues, which are often related to each other. Sexual dysfunction can be lifelong or temporary. It can happen all the time, only with a certain partner, or only at certain times, such as after pregnancy.
A healthy sex life depends on a complex mix of many factors. The same is true for a troubled sex life. Health issues, certain prescription medicines, changes in hormone levels, partner or family issues, and psychological concerns can all contribute to FSD.
Choice of treatment depends on the cause of your problems. Often, a combination of treatments works best. If you have a medical condition that is causing your FSD, talk with your doctor about what can be done.
Talking and Counseling. Consider talking with your partner about what’s going on. Sometimes a better line of communication is all that is needed. If necessary, you may want to get counseling, by yourself or with your partner. Sex therapy, usually a later step in the process, also can be helpful.
Lifestyle Changes. Some women find that losing weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising, stopping smoking, and getting enough sleep helps increase their sense of well-being and interest in sex. Try finding ways to be comfortable with your own sexuality. This may involve thinking about your attitudes toward sex when you were growing up, finding ways to improve your self-esteem, and accepting your body as it is.
Managing Medicines. If certain medicines are causing problems, your doctor might be able to change your prescription. Other medicines also can help.
Estrogen. Estrogen can help with vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Two types of prescription estrogen are available: local (vaginal) and whole-body (systemic).
Devices. A prescription device called the Eros can help with arousal by increasing blood flow to the genital area and enhancing sensation.
Keep in mind that some doctors have not been trained to treat sexual problems. Ask your doctor whether he or she feels comfortable working with you on your sexual health. If not, ask whether he/she can recommend an expert who could help you.
Before you ask your health care provider any questions, think about what you’d like to say. Think of ways to speak frankly and plainly, and try to be as specific as possible. You can use one of the statements below and add personal details.
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