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Sexual Conditions Health Center

Understanding Female Sexual Problems -- the Basics

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What Causes Sexual Problems in Women? continued...

Your sexual functioning may be affected by medical conditions such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury
  • Thyroid disease and other hormone disorders
  • Alcoholism
  • The consequences of radiation therapy for cancer
  • Any other condition that causes fatigue and debilitation
  • Premature menopause or removal of ovaries
  • Medications

Pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) may occur as a result of:

  • Painful ovarian cysts
  • Pain or spasm of the vaginal muscles
  • Pelvic infections
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine or bladder prolapse
  • Inadequate vaginal lubrication which can happen with menopause or with lack of foreplay
  • Skin conditions of the vulva and vagina called lichen sclerosis
  • An abnormally formed vagina (due to a birth defect, scarring from repair after childbirth, or radiation damage)
  • A poor-fitting contraceptive diaphragm
  • An allergic reaction to certain condoms or spermicidal jellies or foams
  • Fears or anxiety
  • A combination of one or more of the above conditions

A variety of medications and drugs can interfere with sexual functioning, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs to treat high blood pressure
  • Pain medications
  • Sedatives
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic medications

Psychological factors may play a role, particularly if your problem is lack of desire or inability to get aroused. You may find it difficult to enjoy a sexual relationship if:

  • You are under a lot of stress.
  • Your relationship is troubled.
  • You have a history of traumatic sexual encounters.
  • You were raised in a family with strict sexual taboos.
  • You have poor body image.
  • You're afraid of getting pregnant or of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease.
  • You have negative feelings (including guilt, anger, fear, and low self-esteem).
  • You have an anxiety disorder.
  • You are depressed.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD, FACOG on March 21, 2014
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