Sexual Problems in Women - Treatment Overview
sexual problems can be managed when you understand
what is causing them. Effective management requires a high level of comfort
between you and your doctor, possibly along with your partner.
Because a sexual problem often has multiple causes, treatments cannot be
universally applied-what works for one woman may not work for another. An
effective plan will address and manage the cause. And if you have a partner, your plan will also include ways to build and strengthen
intimate communication between you and your partner. The best results will help
you find methods of having a satisfying sexual life.
- Medical treatment for any cause.
- Education about your body, your sexual signals and
receptors, and changes in sexuality as you get older.
- Communication counseling for you and your
- Psychological therapy. Therapy for sexual problems often involves cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Treatment for decrease of sexual desire
decrease in your level of desire might be expressed by fewer sexual thoughts
and/or a reluctance to engage in sexual activity. Treatment for physical causes
- Changing from a
medicine that has been curbing your interest in sex.
- Relieving pain, illness, or sleep problems that are curbing your
interest in sex.
- Hormone therapy with
estrogen. After menopause, low levels of estrogen in
the body cause vaginal dryness. This can be painful during sex. Estrogen
Testosterone. Normally, a woman's
testosterone slowly declines with age. It drops suddenly when a woman has
surgery to remove the ovaries (oophorectomy, causing surgical
menopause). Testosterone is sometimes
used after natural or surgical menopause to improve sex drive. When taken in
too high a dose, testosterone causes male-type side effects, such as a
deepening voice, thinning scalp hair, and growth of facial and body hair.
Testosterone risks are not fully researched.
Exercise, to improve
your mood and increase natural testosterone levels.
Your doctor can treat physical or hormonal causes, and
you can work on other facets of sexual desire. For example:
- Changing your setting and routine can improve
your time together. Do you have enough privacy and time? Are you interested in
trying something new?
- Having a partner you feel comfortable and
nonstressed with plays a big part in your desire level.
counseling as a couple can help strengthen your emotional connection with your
partner. Improving a stressed relationship is likely to improve your sexual
It is normal to lack desire for a partner who forces
sex or is verbally abusive or physically violent. For more information, see the
Treatment for decrease of sexual arousal
decrease in the level of arousal might be noticed as an inability to feel or
maintain sexual excitement. A woman's sexual arousal often is enhanced by, and
is sometimes dependent on, stimulation in areas other than the genital area,
especially the breasts. Treatment for a decrease in your sexual arousal may
- Increasing the level of intimacy and sexual
arousal with your partner before penetration.
- Liberal use of
Masturbation, possibly with the aid of a
vibrator and/or with your partner.
- Education about the role that emotions play in sexual
- Counseling, to help adjust expectations of sexual
activity. If too much pressure is put on partners to perform, arousal may be
- Treatment changes for other conditions, if
needed to eliminate side effects that decrease arousal.
Treatment for an inability to reach orgasm