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Female Sexual Drive Disorder – Classification

Karyn Eilber, MD Karyn Eilber, MD February 7, 2021
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Female sexual dysfunction or sexual dysfunction disorders are classified by the American Psychiatric Association into disorders of desire and arousal orgasmic disorders and sexual pain. In order for a woman's symptoms to be classified as dysfunction, they must be present at least six months, cause significant distress for the woman and not be due to a non sexual mental disorder. Female sexual dysfunction is more prevalent than male sexual dysfunction, affecting over 40% of women versus 30% of men. The symptoms of female sexual dysfunction depend on the disorder. Disorders of desire and arousal are characterized by a lack of interest and response to sexual stimuli. Orgasmic disorders are the inability or difficulty to achieve orgasm, and sexual pain is pain related to sexual stimuli or vaginal contact. The causes of female sexual dysfunction include medications, hormonal changes, relationship issues, and history of sexual abuse. Ethnic and religious views can also impact female sexual function. The treatment of female sexual dysfunction also depends on the disorder. Disorders of desire and arousal often respond to hormonal treatment, and there are two FDA approved medications for premenopausal, low desire and arousal. Orgasmic disorders often respond to a combination of sex therapy as well as directed masturbation, and sexual pain is best treated with a multi-modality approach, including pelvic floor physical therapy, medications, or treatments to relax the pelvic floor, directed masturbation and sex therapy.

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