In general, there are 4 kinds of sexual problems in women: Desire disorders, when there is no interest in having sex, or a decreased desire for sex than previously; Arousal disorders, when there is the absence of the feeling of a sexual response or difficulty in staying sexually aroused; Orgasmic disorders, when there is the inability to have an orgasm, or there is pain during orgasm; and Sexual pain disorders, which is when there is pain during or after sex.
There are physical causes for sexual dysfunction, as well as psychological causes. Physical causes include certain medical conditions such as vaginal infections or chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Hormonal imbalances, fatigue, alcoholism and drug abuse, as well as the side effects from certain medications can affect sexual desire and function. Psychological causes include stress and anxiety, relationship problems, depression and a history of current or past sexual abuse.
Ideally, treatment of FSD involves a team effort between the woman, doctors, and trained therapists. Most types of sexual problems can be corrected by treating the underlying physical or psychological problems.
It is important that women and their partners understand that there are many elements of the treatment of FSD. For example, education about anatomy, sexual function, and the normal changes associated with aging, as well as sexual behaviors and appropriate responses, may help a woman to become less anxious about sexual function and performance.
The good news is that there is often great success in treatment for FSD. Depending on the underlying cause of the problem, the outlook can be quite good, particularly for FSD that is related to a treatable or reversible physical condition. Even FSD that is related to stress, fear, or anxiety often can be successfully treated with counseling, education, and improved communication between partners.
If a woman has concerns about FSD, she should feel comfortable discussing this with her health care professional. And, in turn, the health care professional should be able to discuss FSD with his or her patients and refer out if necessary.