Female Sexual Dysfunction

What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?

When physicians refer to female sexual dysfunction, they are referring to any issues that occur throughout the sexual response cycle that can prevent the individual or both partners in a sexual relationship from experiencing sexual satisfaction. Female sexual dysfunction is a complex set of conditions and circumstances that include physical, mental, and emotional components.

The complexity of the issue is often misunderstood and because of the sensitive nature of it, many women fail to seek out medical care or other treatments for female sexual dysfunction. This can be an issue that occurs chronically, meaning it is always a problem or can be an issue only in certain situations. There is no specific age at which female sexual dysfunction occurs either.


Causes of female sexual dysfunction can vary as well. Some potential causes include anxiety, stress, illness, and hormonal issues like low estrogen. There are also other physical causes for female sexual dysfunction. Ovarian or uterine polyps or cysts can make sexual intercourse painful and uncomfortable which will prevent sexual satisfaction. Cancer, certain prescription medications, heart disease, kidney issues and the like can all potentially contribute to female sexual dysfunction.

What are the Symptoms of Female Sexual Dysfunction?

A woman with female sexual dysfunction may have a low sexual desire and not want to have sexual relations as often as her partner or even at all. There may also be issues with arousal, anxiety regarding sexual intercourse, inability to achieve orgasm, pain during intercourse, or pain during other sexual contact.

Female Sexual Dysfunction Causes

Female sexual dysfunction is a complex problem for which doctors have identified three general causes. These causes break down as medical causes, hormonal causes and psychological causes.

There are multiple medical conditions that may cause female sexual dysfunction. The most common among these potential causes are cardiovascular system related. Hypertension, peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease may lead to female sexual dysfunction. Cancers, autoimmune disorders and endocrine system problems may lead to sexual dysfunction. Of these endocrine issues, the most common conditions leading to female sexual dysfunction are diabetes and hypothyroidism.

There are several medications that have female sexual dysfunction as a possible side effect. Drugs used to treat heart disease and depression are the most common culprits.

Hormonal changes are another factor that may lead to female sexual dysfunction. The hormonal changes that occur during menopause and at childbirth are most notable.

Psychological issues often play a role in female sexual dysfunction. Those with long-term anxiety disorders and depression often lack sexual desire. Those who have been in an abusive relationship often experience female sexual dysfunction.

How is Female Sexual Dysfunction Treated?

The treatment for female sexual dysfunction will depend upon the underlying cause of the issue. Sometimes, using a vaginal lubricant can help to resolve some of the problems. Surgery to remove polyps or cysts could be helpful as well.

Talk counseling for the individual or both partners in the relationship can help with anxiety and other mental and emotional issues that may contribute to female sexual dysfunction and help the couple to work through these issues and find a way to have a satisfying relationship.

Female Sexual Dysfunction Prevention

In order to prevent female sexual dysfunction that is a result of a medical condition, patients need to be successfully treated for the underlying disorder. Since cardiovascular conditions often play a role, it is important to implement lifestyle choices that lead to cardiovascular health. Reducing cholesterol and exercising regularly are important for keeping the heart healthy.

Since diabetes is also a major medical concern leading to female sexual dysfunction, those with diabetes need to keep their blood sugar under control. Consuming less sugar and eating a low fat diet will help to prevent the onset of diabetes and the problems that arise with it.

If someone is taking a drug that may be contributing to female sexual dysfunction, it may be necessary to switch to a different medication. Always consult with a doctor before stopping or starting any medications.

Reducing stress, and seeking help with any underlying anxiety or depression may help prevent female sexual dysfunction. Those with long-term issues may find benefit in seeking the help of a qualified mental health professional.