Are You Suffering in Silence? Let's Talk About Sex (or lack thereof)…
Posted October 26th, 2016
“My libido has gone down so much”, “I’m not reaching orgasm”, “Sex is painful”…these are just a few of the statements we commonly hear from new patients at The Renewal Point.
Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) affects 48.2% of women but many of us have never heard of it.[i] We constantly hear of Viagra and Erectile Dysfunction through TV commercials and magazine ads, yet a healthy sex life is just as important for women and as it is for men. And, while it’s proven that women don’t think about sex as much as men, it certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve the same attention when it comes to their sex life. So let’s break the silence and start talking about what’s standing in the way!
There are five main forms of sexual dysfunction: hypoactive sexual disorder (aka: low libido), dyspareunia (aka: painful sex), sexual arousal disorder (can originate in genitals or brain), aversion to sex (usually related to history of sexual abuse), and inability to achieve orgasm.[ii] While having just one of these issues is more than enough to deal with, 23.2% of women surveyed had two or more forms of sexual dysfunction.
These problems can arise from a number of issues including hormone imbalances, anatomical changes/anomalies, trauma/abuse, and medications (ie: anti-depressants, contraception, chemotherapy). Additionally, sexually transmitted infections/diseases can greatly interfere with a healthy sex life. The great news is that almost all of these problems can be addressed successfully!
The Renewal Point’s Nurse Practitioner, Helena Williams, specializes in Female Sexual Dysfunction. She wants women to know that they don’t need to feel embarrassed and that there are a full range of treatments available to help them. She utilizes physical exams, diagnostic tests, and lab work to determine the cause of their concerns and then formulates a plan of care to address their specific issues and medical needs.
Sometimes the treatment is as simple as prescribing therapies (hormones, libricants, scream creams, oxytocin troches, etc) or using trigger point injections; and, other times it may require addressing a physical condition or anomaly that they may have. Depending on the issue, the treatment may be fully completed in the office or we may work in conjunction with a counselor and/or specialty surgeon. Whatever the problem is, we are here to help and all patient care and correspondence is completed privately and confidentially.
Consider this common scenario:
A 63 year old female came to the office expressing concern about “decreased libido”. She had been placed on hormone replacement therapy by previous providers and lab values were within normal range; however, her libido had not improved and, in fact, it was affecting her relationship with her spouse and they had not had intercourse in over 6 months. A physical examination revealed that the patient not only suffered from severe vaginal atrophy but also significant clitoral retraction. (The clitoris is the female sexual appendage and thereby the equivalent to the penis in a male. If a woman does not have clitoral stimulation then it is often very difficult for her to achieve an orgasm.) A plan of care consisted of use of topical estrogens and testosterone vaginally. The patient was educated on how to appropriately apply this medication for 2 months and after 2 months the patient was happy to report that she is enjoying intercourse again with no further libido issue.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, you can email us at [email protected] or call 941-926-4905.
[i] Yale School of Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine
[ii] Cleveland Clinic