Summary
Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) can be described as any problem that regularly interferes with a woman’s ability to achieve sexual gratification. To be considered a dysfunction, the symptoms must be persistent, pervasive and cause the woman distress. This broad definition can include difficulties with desire, arousal, orgasm or resolution. An estimated 43 percent of U.S. women experience some form of sexual dysfunction, according to the American Medical Association.Sexual dysfunction can start early in a woman’s life, or may develop later in someone who previously enjoyed sex without difficulty. The causes of sexual dysfunction can be physical, psychological or a combination of the two. FSD consists of four main categories, and many women can experience problems in more than one category at a time. These are:
Sexual desire disorders
Sexual arousal disorders
Orgasm disorders
Sexual pain disorders
Women entering midlife may experience sexual dysfunction often attributed to changes brought on by menopause. Other reasons for female sexual dysfunction can include chronic conditions, such as severe endometriosis, or serious illness, such as gynecologic cancer that physically alters a woman’s body and often her body image as well.
Although it may be difficult to speak with a physician about intimate relationships, it is best to be candid. Healthy sexual function is an important part of a woman’s life. Women should be aware that FSD often can be treated successfully.Not all sexual problems are dysfunctions. For instance, inadequate stimulation or having an impatient partner is not considered sexual dysfunction. Once the underlying reason is discovered, many cases of sexual dysfunction can be treated. A physician will most likely diagnose sexual dysfunction based on the patient’s symptoms. In addition, the patient’s medical history, sexual history and a physical examination can help to determine the cause.

Types and differences of sexual dysfunction
There are several types of female sexual dysfunction (FSD). The five most common difficulties include:Inhibited sexual desire. Oral contraceptives, antidepressants, tranquilizers and other medications can cause a lowered sex drive.Painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Some women who have been through menopause find that they have less vaginal lubrication. At times, hormone replacement therapy or vaginal creams containing estrogen are recommended. Serious side effects are associated with some of these medications, and other options may be available. For example, many women find over-the-counter lubricants to be a successful remedy.Lack of orgasm (anorgasmia). Sometimes referred to as female orgasmic disorder, a persistent delay or absence of orgasm can be caused by either physical or psychological factors. Common reasons for women failing to achieve orgasm include severe stress or anxiety, depression, or various medical conditions (e.g., incontinence). Certain medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or antihypertensive drugs, can also cause a lack of orgasm. Lack of orgasm that is not physical or psychological in cause (e.g., an impatient partner) is not a form of sexual dysfunction.Vaginismus. Characterized by a persistent or recurring spasm of the outer third of the vagina, vaginismus often interferes with sexual intercourse.Hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

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