Female Sexuality is a complex process, coordinated by the neurologic, vascular and endocrine systems. Individually, sexuality incorporates family, societal and religious beliefs, and is altered with aging, health status and personal experience. In addition, sexual activity incorporates interpersonal relationships, each partner bringing unique attitudes, needs and responses into the coupling. A breakdown in any of these areas may lead to sexual dysfunction.
Female Sexual dysfunction includes desire, arousal, orgasmic and sex pain disorders (dyspareunia and vaginismus). The Hattat Clinic team of experts assume a proactive role in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Long-term medical diseases, minor ailments, medications and psychosocial difficulties, including prior physical or sexual abuse, are etiologic factors. Gynecologic maladies and cancers (including breast cancer) are also frequent sources of sexual dysfunction. Patient education and reassurance, with early diagnosis and intervention, are essential for effective treatment.
There are four kinds of sexual problems in women.
- Desire disorders. If you have a desire disorder you may not be interested in having sex. Or, you may have less desire for sex than you used to.
- Arousal disorders. When you don’t feel a sexual response in your body or you start to respond but can’t keep it up, you might have an arousal disorder.
- Orgasmic disorders. If you can’t have an orgasm or you have pain during orgasm, you may have an orgasmic disorder.
- Sex pain disorders. When you have pain during or after sex, you may have a sex pain disorder. In some women, the muscles in the outer part of the vagina tighten when you start to have sex. A man’s penis or a vibrator can’t get into the tight vagina.
What causes female sexual dysfunction problems?
Just like men, women can experience difficulties in desiring and participating in sex with their partners. Recent research suggests that approximately 40% of women may be affected by some sexual dysfunction. Such women may have never felt sexually excited or had an orgasm. What was once a pleasurable experience shared by a couple may now be a painful act which can lead to dissatisfaction, unhappiness and consequently have a serious impact on the quality of life of the couple. Many women find great difficulty in talking about sexual difficulties with their partner and many more women fail to seek treatment due to shame, embarrassment or fear that health professionals will misunderstand them. Sex becomes a problem only if one partner feels unhappy about it. Couples often experience periods of “ups and downs” and their frequency of lovemaking may vary greatly. For one couple it may not matter if they do not engage in regular penetrative sex whereas for another couple this may present considerable distress to one or both of them. As with men, there are many factors that can contribute to sexual problems for women, some of which may be of psychological origin but others which may be due to physical causes. Recent research indicates that there are more physical (or biological) causes for sexual dysfunction than were recognised before. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis and certain prescription drugs may be linked with dysfunction.
- Medicines, diseases (like diabetes or high blood pressure), alcohol use, or vaginal infections can cause sexual problems.
- Depression, an unhappy relationship or abuse (now or in the past) can also cause sexual problems.
- You may have less sexual desire during pregnancy, right after childbirth or when you are breast-feeding. After menopause many women feel less sexual desire, have vaginal dryness or have pain during sex.
- The stresses of everyday life can affect your ability to have sex. Being tired from a busy job or caring for young children may make you feel less desire to have sex. Or, you may be bored by a long-standing sexual routine.
How do you know if you have a problem?
Up to 70 percent of couples have a problem with sex at some time. Most women sometimes have sex that doesn’t feel good. This doesn’t mean you have a sexual problem. If you don’t want to have sex or it never feels good, you might have a sexual problem. The best person to decide if you have a sexual problem is you! Discuss your worries with us. Remember that anything you tell your Hattat Clinic physician is private.
What Happens at Hattat Clinic
There are many treatment options in terms of the reason and type of the disorder. We aim to find out the exact cause of the problem (psychical or psychological ) with concultancy of a team of andrologists, sexual physicians, endocrinologists and psychologists. Because there are a variety of causes, there are several different tests your doctor may use to diagnose the condition and determine its cause. Only after the cause of your problem is determined can it be effectively treated. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your doctor. With the results of the tests the real cause can be determined and the exact treatment protocol can be given in a 2 days time.
Before ordering any tests, your doctor will review your medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. The doctor will also “interview” you about your personal and sexual history. Some of these questions will be very personal and may feel intrusive. However, it is important that you answer these questions honestly. The questions asked may include:
- What medications or drugs are you currently using? This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, dietary supplements, and illegal drugs or alcohol.
- Have you had any psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression?
- When did you first notice symptoms of your sexual problem?
- What are the specifics of the circumstances under which the problem first occurred?
- Are there problems in your current relationship?
- Do you have more than one sexual partner?
- If you have more than one partner, do you experience the problem with one or both?
The doctor may also wish to interview your sexual partner since your partner may be able to offer in sight about the underlying causes. A sample of your blood may also be collected for laboratory tests which will probably include hormone measurement. Your Hattat Clinic sexual physician will organise further tests which may involve monitoring blood flow in the vagina, measuring the pressure inside the vagina, and X-rays of the arteries supplying the vagina. These tests are not necessary in every sufferer. At the end of the assessment process, the doctor will be able to offer you treatment protocol which is best suited to your particular case. The doctor may also recommend the changing of prescription medicines.
The most important thing is to learn more about your body and how it works. Ask your doctor about how medicines, illnesses, surgery, age, pregnancy or menopause can affect sex. Talk with your partner about what each of you like and dislike, or what you might want to try. Ask for your partner’s help. Remember that your partner may not want to do some things you want to try. Or, you may not want to try what your partner wants. You should respect each other’s comforts and discomforts. This helps you and your partner have a good sexual relationship. If you can’t talk to your partner, your doctor or a counselor may be able to help you. If you feel like a partner is abusing you, you should tell your doctor.