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GBMC Greater Living discuss Female Sexual Dysfunction

February 23, 2018
It's not easy to talk about, but sexual dysfunction is a very real problem for many women. Compared to male sexual dysfunction, female dysfunction has fewer treatments and more stigmas associated with it. In this episode of "Greater Living," Mary Beth Marsden and Don Scott discuss the causes and treatments for female sexual dysfunction with GBMC Urologist, Dr. Karen Boyle.

Sexual dysfunction can start for women as soon as they become sexually active — age isn't the deciding factor. Orgasmic and pain disorders are the most common types of dysfunction for younger women. It can be so severe that women can't even use tampons during their menstrual cycle.

Many people believe that sexual dysfunction in women is caused solely by psychological factors, but this simply isn't the case. "This is a physiological issue," said Dr. Boyle. Due to this stigma and the extremely personal nature of the issue, many women don't seek treatment. Dr. Boyle encouraged women to talk to their doctor, saying "if you're having pain during sex, you should be evaluated. It isn't normal, and you don't want to ignore it."

Other types of sexual dysfunction include:
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Difficulties with arousal and orgasm
  • Dryness and lack of lubrication
  • Vaginal atrophy (thinning of the vaginal walls)
  • STDs
Unfortunately, there has been a lack of research on female sexual dysfunction. This has led to fewer treatments being approved by the FDA and covered by insurance. There are certain treatments available that have proven to be effective, but have not been officially approved by the FDA for treating female sexual dysfunction. These are called "off-label" medications and must be paid for out-of-pocket. The most common approved treatments are topical ointments and creams as well as hormone therapy.

Although female sexual dysfunction is not as straightforward as male sexual dysfunction, it is still treatable and women struggling with it shouldn't give up hope. The first step is to talk to your primary care provider about the symptoms you are experiencing. There may be a very simple solution! If you need a primary care provider, visit for more information.
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