Female sexual health concerns are common, although rarely discussed even with medical professionals.

Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) may affect over 40% of both pre- and post-menopausal women. Sexuality and intercourse is a complex process that involves neurologic, vascular, hormonal and psychiatric components. Therefore, FSD can have multiple causes and treatments. Types of disorders include problems with pain, desire, arousal and orgasm.

Diagnosis & Evaluation

The evaluation for female sexual dysfunction will include an initial history including a full health and sexual history. Several health conditions can be related to sexual concerns and this will be discussed. Your provider will then conduct a focused physical exam including an external and internal pelvic exam.

Common Sexual Disorders

Female sexual dysfunction is a broad term that encompasses a variety of conditions and concerns. Several of the most common disorders are detailed below. However, this is list does not include every disorder and every woman’s experience is unique. Some women will have symptoms in several categories.couple in bed

  • Dyspareunia: Pain with intercourse or sexual activity
  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD): Decreased sexual desire that causes personal or relationship distress. Women with HSDD may experience limited sexual thoughts / fantasies and/or decreased desire to erotic stimulus. This can manifest into avoidance of sexual interaction.
  • Female arousal disorder: Arousal disorders can be either cognitive or genital. Cognitive arousal disorder is the inability to maintain adequate mental excitement for intercourse. Genital arousal disorder is the inability to maintain adequate lubrication or sensitivity for intercourse.
  • Orgasmic disorders: Distressing orgasm frequency, intensity, timing or pleasure.
  • Genitourinary syndrome of menopause: Decreased estrogen during and after menopause leads to vaginal atrophy and dryness. These changes can make intercourse uncomfortable or impossible.


Since female sexual dysfunction is multifaceted, the treatments will be varied. Some options for management include:

  • Sex therapy / cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Lubrication and topical agents


    • Not all sexual disorders can be treated with medication, but some can. For example, there are two FDA approved medications for HSDD in premenopausal women. Additionally, certain sexual dysfunctions can be a side effect from medication and elimination of that medication can improve symptoms.

Regardless of the type of sexual dysfunction one of the hardest steps in treatment is presenting for evaluation. These conditions are common and treatable, so come for an evaluation with one of our female sexual dysfunction specialists today.

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