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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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Obscure Sexual Condition for Women

Researchers Don't Know the Cause of 'Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome'

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Cynthia Dennison Haines, MD

March 23, 2006 -- A little-known women's condition called "persistent sexual arousal syndrome" (PSAS) is getting researchers' attention.

David Goldmeier, MD, FRCP, and Sandra Leiblum, PhD, describe PSAS in the International Journal of STD & AIDS . They write that women with PSAS "become involuntarily aroused genitally for extended periods in time in the absence of sexual desire."

The genital arousal is "usually persistent, unprovoked, and unrelieved by orgasm" and unwelcome by the women, the researchers note.

The cause of PSAS is unknown and there is no agreed-upon or proven treatment, write Goldmeier and Leiblum.

Goldmeier works at the Jane Wadsworth Clinic of St. Mary's Hospital in London. Leiblum works at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.

Distressful, Unrecognized

PSAS probably isn't a new condition, but it previously "went unrecognized," Goldmeier tells WebMD in an email.

Asked what he most wants people to know about PSAS, Goldmeier writes in the email, "that it exists and causes a lot of distress to many of the women who have it."

No one knows how many women have PSAS, Goldmeier writes. "I suspect it is much less common than, say, symptoms of low desire in women, which is the commonest sexual complaint."

Seeking Help

Goldmeier encourages women to seek assistance for PSAS. While there is no clear treatment, "there are healthcare workers out there who will listen to you and try their very best to help," Goldmeier writes.

"Every case has to be investigated thoroughly," he writes.

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