Sexual dysfunction refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the woman from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity. The sexual response cycle has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Many physical and/or medical conditions can cause problems with sexual function. These conditions include diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, menopause, chronic diseases such as kidney or liver failure, and alcoholism and drug abuse. In addition, the side effects of certain medications, including some antidepressants drugs, can affect sexual desire and function. Psychological causes like 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.
The most common problems related to sexual dysfunction in women include Inhibited sexual desire involves a lack of sexual desire or interest in sex. Many factors can contribute to a lack of desire, including hormonal changes, medical conditions and treatments, depression, pregnancy, stress and fatigue. Boredom with regular sexual routines also may contribute to a lack of enthusiasm for sex. Inability to become aroused the inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity often involves insufficient vaginal lubrication. The inability to become aroused also may be related to anxiety or inadequate stimulation. Lack of orgasm is the delay or absence of sexual climax. It can be caused by sexual inhibition, inexperience, lack of knowledge and psychological factors such as guilt, anxiety, or a past sexual trauma or abuse. Pain during intercourse can be caused by a number of problems, including endometriosis, pelvic mass, ovarian cysts, vaginitis, poor lubrication, the presence of scar tissue from surgery and a sexually transmitted disease or vaginismus.
Treatment The ideal approach to treating female sexual dysfunction involves a team effort between the patient, health care providers and trained therapists. Most types of sexual dysfunction can be corrected by treating the underlying physical or psychological problems. Providing education about human anatomy, sexual function and the normal changes associated with aging, as well as sexual behaviors and responses, may help a woman overcome her anxieties about sexual function and performance. Enhancing stimulation may include the use of erotic materials, masturbation and changes to sexual routines. Encouraging non-coital behaviors ? Non-coital behaviors, such as sensual massage, can be used to promote comfort and increase communication between partners. Minimizing pain by using sexual positions that allow the woman to control the depth of penetration may help relieve some pain. The use of vaginal lubricants can help reduce pain caused by friction, and a warm bath before intercourse can help increase relaxation.