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Alternative Names Return to topFrigidity; Sexual dysfunction - female
Definition Return to top
Sexual dysfunction in women may involve a reduction in sex drive, a strong dislike of sexual activity, difficulty becoming aroused, inability to achieve orgasm, or pain with sexual activity or intercourse.
Considerations Return to top
Traditionally, sexual dysfunction in women was thought to be largely due to psychological problems. Recent research is beginning to uncover many physical causes for sexual problems in women. While many sexual problems have an underlying psychological component, possible physical causes must be ruled out in the initial examination.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Home care depends on the cause. Family planning and birth control may be helpful for problems caused by a fear of pregnancy.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if the problem is persistent or accompanied by other unexplained symptoms.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider will perform a physical examination, which may include a pelvic exam. Your provider may ask detailed questions about relationships, current sexual practices, attitudes towards sex, other medical conditions you might have, medications you may be taking, and other possible symptoms.
Treatment for sexual dysfunction will depend on the cause. It may include changes in your current sexual activities, stopping or changing medications where possible, adding a new medication, or surgery. Referral to a specialist with expertise in treating sexual dysfunction may be necessary. Psychological counseling may be recommended.
References Return to top
Eyler AE, Biggs WS. Medical human sexuality in family medicine practice. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 55.
Lentz GM. Emotional aspects of gynecology: sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, grief, loss. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007: chap 9.Update Date: 8/1/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Maternal & Child Health Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine; Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.