Don’t let sexual dysfunction impact your life
By Kimberly A. Harris, RN, MSN, FNP
43% of American women report being unhappy with their sexual function. The reasons for their dissatisfaction include:
• Lack of interest (33%)
• Difficulty with arousal (14%)
• Pain (11%)
• Performance anxiety (16%)
• Inability to reach orgasm (15%)
If you fall into any of these categories and want help, our GYN doctors are here for you.
What affects sexual health?
There are many components to a woman’s sexual health.
Estrogen: As a woman’s estrogen level decreases, she may see a drop in her arousal. The reverse is also true. Many women notice an increase in arousal during their menses, which could be attributed to an increasing estrogen level.
Testosterone: Found in men and women, testosterone has an effect on desire. Men can have 20 to 70 times more testosterone than women, which explains why they usually have a stronger desire than women. Higher testosterone usually means higher libido.
Prolactin: The hormone prolactin is secreted by the pituitary gland and can decrease a woman’s sexual excitement. Evidence of this can often be seen in post-partum breastfeeding mothers. Prolactin is necessary to produce breast milk.
Dopamine and Norepinephrine: Higher levels of Dopamine and Norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain, are associated with more desire/arousal in women.
Serotonin: Elevated Serotonin, which is also a neurotransmitter in the brain, causes a decrease in all aspects of sexual function in women.
Mental health: Our GYN Clinic has found that women associate the way they feel mentally with how much desire they have. A woman who feels desirable generally notices an increase in her desire. Women who experience a high level of emotional stress, have a poor body image, are depressed, or are dealing with relationship conflicts notice a negative effect on their libido.
Medications: Medications such as antidepressants and some cardiac drugs can have a negative effect on a woman’s libido.
Culture: Culture can be another factor in a woman’s desire. If her family portrayed sex in a negative way, it could have a profoundly negative effect on her attitude about sex. However, if her parents were openly affectionate and physical, a woman might have positive feelings about intimacy and sex.
Aging: As women age they may notice a decrease in libido. Some Gyn doctors believe this has to do with the stress and time constraints of raising children. Many women notice a surge in their libidos once their children are raised and living on their own.
Menopause: For some women, reaching menopause decreases their libido. This may be due to low estrogen levels and associated vaginal dryness, or the realization that she no longer has the ability to bear children.
Physical health: A person’s health has a great effect on their libido. Illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions are known to adversely affect the libido. Conversely, very healthy people tend to have very healthy libidos. And, people who have an active, enjoyable sex life, also tend to live longer.
Types of sexual dysfunction
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: This is the most common type of female sexual dysfunction seen among women in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Peninsula, Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads and North Carolina. It is very difficult to measure and most likely exacerbated by external factors. A woman’s low desire to have sex is the most difficult subset of this disorder to treat. One thing that has potential to help is testosterone replacement, if it is found to be low.
Female Sexual Arousal Disorder: This is when a woman is unable to reach/maintain a level of sexual stimulation that is satisfactory to her. The woman’s current estrogen level has an effect on this. During times of lower estrogen, such as after menopause, premenstrually, and during lactation, there can be vaginal dryness. Some birth control pills can also lead to decreased lubrication in the vagina. This can lead to painful intercourse which in turn leads to decreased desire. This can be treated with vaginal estrogen and/or lubricants such as Astroglide or Replens.
Orgasmic Disorder: This is a condition which causes difficulty reaching orgasm. It is “primary” if the person has never had an orgasm. This can be a result of inadequate stimulation, lack of knowledge/experience, or a history of sexual assault/abuse. The “secondary” type is when the person has previously experienced orgasm but is currently unable to. Hormonal deficiency, psychological disorders and/or lack of desire are all potential causes of this.
Sexual Pain Disorder: Disorders like this, such as dyspareunia and vaginismus, can cause a significant adverse response to sex for a woman. Dyspareunia, or painful intercourse, can be caused by endometriosis, ovarian cysts, muscle spasms and pelvic organ prolapse. Vaginisimus is a painful vagina without any physical contact. It includes vestibulitis, vulvadynia, and complications from perineal lacerations during childbirth.
Sexual dysfunction solutions
||There are physical therapists Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Peninsula, Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads, and North Carolina who specialize in helping women with sexual pain disorders. This requires face-to-face visits on a regular basis at a therapy center.
||A certified sex therapist can also help with sexual dysfunction by identifying psychological factors that may play a role and providing interventions when appropriate.
||There are medications our GYN doctors use to treat various sexual dysfunction conditions.
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If you are suffering from problems with sexual health, estrogen, estrogen level decrease, testosterone, libido, menopause, vaginal dryness, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, female sexual dysfunction, testosterone replacement, female sexual arousal disorder, or orgasmic disorder and live in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads or North Carolina, please contact our GYN Clinic at (757) 312-8221 or by clicking here. Our GYN doctors can help you.
About our GYN Clinic
Our GYN doctors help women suffering from problems with sexual health, estrogen, estrogen level decrease, testosterone, libido, menopause, vaginal dryness, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, female sexual dysfunction, female sexual arousal disorder, and orgasmic disorder. We care for women of all ages in Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Peninsula, Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads and North Carolina.