Women's Sexual Problems

When to Seek Medical Care

Not all sexual problems require medical attention. Many people have temporary sexual problems that can be caused by medical problems or stress and anxiety in another area of their life. If you are distressed by the problem or you are afraid your relationship is threatened, don't be afraid or embarrassed to seek outside help. If your health care provider is unable to help you beyond ruling out physical problems, a mental health counselor should be able to help or point you in the right direction.

Any new sexual problem that persists for more than a few weeks is worth a visit to your health care provider. He or she can rule out medical or medication-related causes and offer advice on solving other types of problems. Your health care provider can refer to other specialists, such as a psychotherapist, marriage counselor or sex therapist.

Certain problems require attention right away.

  • If intercourse suddenly becomes painful when it wasn't before, for example, you may have an infection or other medical condition that requires prompt attention.
  • If you have reason to believe you have a sexually transmitted disease, you and your partner both need to be treated right away, as do any other sexual partners either of you may have.
  • Any unusual reaction to sexual activity, such as headache, brief chest pain, or pain elsewhere in the body, also warrants a visit to your health care provider.