Female Sexual Dysfunction: Fast Facts

  • According to the American Medical Association, approximately 43 percent of U.S. women (and 31 percent of men) have experienced some form of sexual dysfunction at some time.
  • Any persistent, pervasive problem that routinely interferes with a woman's ability to achieve sexual gratification and causes her distress is female sexual dysfunction.
  • The normal stages of sexual response include excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution.
  • Sexual desire disorders involve an absence of sexual fantasy or desire.
  • Sexual arousal disorders involve problems with any of body's normal mechanisms of arousal, including the erection of nipples and vaginal lubrication.
  • Orgasmic disorders involve a lack or delay in orgasm.
  • Sexual pain disorders involve any source of pain in the vagina, clitoris or labia.
  • Smoking and/or drinking alcohol can affect not only the prognosis or treatment of a medical condition, but also your sexual function.
  • During menopause, sexual response and a general interest in sex may diminish.
  • Underlying medical and psychological conditions that can lead to female sexual dysfunction include diabetes, heart disease, endometriosis and arthritis.
  • Sexual dysfunction may also occur due to a serious illness that physically alters a woman's body and body image, such as breast or gynecologic cancer.
  • As many as half of all breast cancer patients experience some form of long-term sexual difficulties, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • Following a diagnosis of cancer or chronic disease, it is normal for a woman to experience anxieties that can impede her ability to express her sexuality and trigger concerns about her sexual desirability.
  • Hormonal changes, often related to pregnancy, menopause or female cancers, can lead to vaginal dryness or vaginal atrophy, in which the shape and flexibility of the vagina gradually decline.
  • Psychological reasons may be expressed as anxieties or fears that cause a woman difficulty with one or more of the aspects of sexual intimacy.
  • Patient education and reassurance, combined with early diagnosis and treatment, are the keys to effective treatment of female sexual dysfunction.
  • If the underlying cause of the sexual dysfunction is medical, then effective treatment must first address the condition or disease.
  • It is helpful for a woman to communicate her feelings about any physical changes, such as the loss of a breast due to breast cancer, with her partner.
  • There are many over-the-counter creams, gels and lubricants that work well to alleviate vaginal dryness.

Reviewed by Steven A. King, M.D.

Like this? Want more?
preview
Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow http://t.co/wfewf

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web