Decreased sexual desire
What are some types of sex problems that women might have? — Sex problems that women might have include:
●Having pain during sex
●Not becoming aroused or "excited" during sex
●Not having an orgasm during sex
●Not wanting to have sex ("low desire" or "decreased libido")
Some women have problems with sex throughout their adult life. Other women develop problems later in life.
What causes sex problems? — Sex problems can be caused by many things. For instance, a woman might have sex problems if she has problems with her partner or in her relationship.
Sex problems can also be linked to medical events in a woman's life. For instance, sex can be painful for a woman in the weeks or months after she gives birth. And some women lose interest in sex or have pain with sex as they get older or after they go through menopause. (Menopause is the time in a woman's life when she stops having monthly periods.)
Certain conditions can also lead to sex problems. These include:
●Dryness or pain in the vagina
●Pain in the lower belly, such as from an infection, past surgery, or a condition called endometriosis (women with this condition often also have painful periods) Click here to read more information on endometriosis.
●Changes in the muscles near and around the vagina
●Mood problems, such as depression
●Medical problems, such as cancer or heart problems
Sex problems can also be a side effect of certain medicines. For example, medicines to treat depression or heart disease sometimes cause sex problems.
Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my sex problem? — Yes. If you are having relationship problems, you can try to improve your relationship with your partner. For example, you can:
●Talk to your partner about how to make sex better
●Make an effort to have more fun together by having a regular "date night"
●Read books or websites about sex (See below for recommended list of books)
●Go to counseling
Women with pain or dryness during sex often feel better if they use vaginal lubricants. These are sold without a prescription. Lubricants are used during sex. Examples include K-Y Jelly and Astroglide. If using a lubricant is not enough, a woman can also use a vaginal moisturizer. Vaginal moisturizers are used 2 to 3 times a week, but not necessarily during sex. Examples include Replens and K-Y SILK-E.
It is also important to stay as healthy as possible and get treated for any medical problems you have. Women who feel healthy and happy are more likely to be happy with their sex life.
Should I see a doctor? — If you don't know why you are having sex problems, your doctor can help you figure it out. He or she will talk with you and do an exam.
How are sex problems treated? — Sex problems can be treated in different ways. These include:
●Using vaginal lubricants and moisturizers or a prescription cream (usually estrogen) to treat vaginal dryness
●Getting treatment for mood problems, if you have mood problems
●Working with your doctor to change any medicines you take that might be causing sex problems
●Having physical therapy to loosen the muscles around your vagina so that you do not have pain during sex
In addition, some women who have gone through menopause are helped by taking hormone medicines.
You might have heard about a new medicine that can help some women with sex problems. This medicine is called flibanserin (brand name: Addyi). It was approved in 2015 for use in the United States. It is meant only for certain women who have not yet gone through menopause and who have a low desire for sex that is causing them stress. Flibanserin must be prescribed by a doctor, and comes in a pill that you take every night at bedtime. It can help some women desire sex more, but there can be serious side effects. For example, some women have problems with tiredness, nausea, dizziness, or headache. You cannot drink alcohol if you are taking this medicine. Alcohol and certain medicines can increase the risk of side effects. In most cases, doctors recommend trying other things to improve your relationship and sex life before trying medicine.
Some treatments are not recommended by doctors. For example, doctors do not usually recommend that women take the medicines that men take for sex problems. Also, most doctors do not recommend that women use herbal treatments to improve sex.
For more information on Addyi - visit www.addyi.com
Suggested Reading Material for Decreased Libido
"Reclaiming Desire, 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido" - by Andrew Goldstein
"Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets to Sexual Intimacy in Your Marriage" - by Dr. Kevin Lehman
"The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting With your Husband Mind Body Heart Spirit" - by Shannon Ethridge
"31 Days to Great Sex" - by Sheila Wray Gregorie
"I'm Not In The Mood: What Every Woman Should Know About Improving Her Libido" - by Judith Reichman
For partners to read individually and then discuss:
"The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All The Fun)" - by Sheila Wray Gregorie (for women)
"What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex: A Guide for Christian Men" - by Ryan Howes, Rishard Rupp, Stephen Simpson (for men)
For in depth understanding and therapeutic exercises:
"The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment" - by Clifford and Joyce Penner
For Creative Inspiration and Ideas:
Content adapted from UpToDate Patient Information.