Female Sexual Medicine
Female Sexual Health and Dysfunction
Sexual function is one of the most underreported areas in women’s health today. According to the National Health and Social Life Survey from 1992, 43% of the women studied reported concerns with their sexual functioning over the course of one year. However, for a diagnosis of sexual dysfunction to be made, these concerns must be associated with personal distress. It is important to remember that what may be considered “abnormal” for one woman may be “normal” for another. Although a sexual complaint may not signify dysfunction, it is still important to discuss the problem with your clinician as it may also be a sign of underlying disease.
A woman’s sexuality can be affected by many factors including: relationship issues, medical illness, hormonal changes, cultural factors, psychological factors, aging, menopause, body image, pregnancy, breastfeeding, early learning about sexuality, history of abuse, and partner sexual dysfunction.
Sexual dysfunction can be broken down into five separate disorders: desire, arousal, orgasmic, pain, and aversion. Although each has a specific medical definition, significant overlap of these disorders is often seen in women.
Significant advances have recently been made in the areas of research and treatment of female sexual dysfunction. If you have concerns regarding your sexual health, discuss them with your physician. It is the first step in getting the treatment that is right for you.