Internationally-Recognized Expertise in Female Sexual Dysfunction

Almost 50 percent of women in the U.S. report having a female sexual arousal disorder or concern, with 1 in 10 women having a diagnosable condition. Female sexual dysfunction is more common than diabetes, yet most women think they are all alone and nothing can be done for their situation. At University Hospitals, our female sexual health specialists understand sexual dysfunction is a treatable medical condition.

We have world-renowned experts on female sexual health with decades of national and international leadership. Our UH sexual health specialists have conducted much of the research on female sexual dysfunction treatment.  At University Hospitals, we combine expertise in behavioral health and female sexual health to target and treat a variety of women’s concerns. Our professional services offer expertise in sexual medicine, along with innovative treatments and therapies with access to clinical trials that address female sexual dysfunction.

New Treatments of Female Sexual Dysfunction

There are various ways female sexual disorders are treated. Pelvic floor physical therapists work with gynecologists and women’s behavioral psychologists to help women with vaginismus who have involuntary tightening of muscles. Expandable vaginismus dilators are available to use in the privacy of your home to increase blood flow to the vagina and tissues prior to intercourse.

The only pharmacological treatment approved by the FDA for pure sexual dysfunction in women is the Addyi pill. It is used to treat a range of sexual dysfunctions, including:

  • Hypoactive or low sexual desire in women who have not gone through menopause
  • Women who have not experienced a lack of sexual desire in the past and who now have low sexual desire no matter the type of sexual activity, the situation or the sexual partner

Causes of Loss of Sexual Desire in Women

Loss of sexual desire in females is common and complicated. There are three main factors to consider:

  • Biological: This is your sex drive or spontaneous sexual interest. Sex drive is influenced by hormones like testosterone and brain chemicals such as dopamine, which increases it, and serotonin, which decreases it. Hormones can also influence behavioral health and medical problems. About 1 in 10 women have hypoactive sexual desire disorder or a persistent lack of sexual desire.
  • Cognitive: This includes your personal beliefs, cultural customs and religious ideas you were raised with that can increase or decrease your sexual desires.
  • Motivation: This component of desire represents all the psychological and interpersonal factors that propel you toward or away from a sexual encounter.

Our sexual health specialists at University Hospitals offer therapy and couples counseling, which usually takes care of problems with cognitive and motivation factors behind loss of sexual desire. Hormone replacement therapy for women, including estrogen for vaginal health and comfort, and even testosterone, which both men and women require for sex drive, sometimes helps rekindle desire. Lubricants and locally delivered estrogen in the forms of creams and suppositories can also help decrease vaginal dryness.

Treating all Aspects of Female Sexual Dysfunction

Our multidisciplinary team considers sexual problems to be medical conditions – both psychologic and biologic. We consult with women of any age and help with all aspects of sexuality and sexual function. Some of the female sexual health conditions we treat include:

  • Anorgasmia: This is a persistent inability to have an orgasm despite responding to sexual stimulation and foreplay.
  • Arousal problems: Lack of sexual arousal means a lack of response to sexual stimulation which can include physical issues, emotional issues or both.
  • Dyspareunia: This is difficult or painful sexual intercourse.
  • Female Hypoactive sexual desire disorder: An absence of sexual thoughts or fantasies that causes distress to the individual.
  • Orgasmic disorders: Also known as anorgasmia in women, female orgasmic disorders occur when it is difficult to reach orgasm, even when there is sufficient sexual arousal and stimulation.
  • Sex after Menopause: Issues can occur with sex after menopause, including painful intercourse or changes in sexual drive due to hormonal affects during or after menopause.
  • Vaginismus: This condition affects vaginal penetration or a woman's ability accept vaginal penetration, including sexual intercourse. This may also include insertion of tampons or issues with gynecological examinations.
  • Vulvodynia, or vulvar pain: This is chronic pain or discomfort around the opening of your vagina, called the vulva, for which there's no identifiable cause and which lasts at least three months.
  • Vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA): This is caused by decreased estrogen in the vaginal tissue. Symptoms include dryness, irritation, soreness, painful intercourse as well as urinary frequency, urgency and urge incontinence.

Help is Available for Female Sexual Dysfunction Issues

If you are experiencing changes in your sexual desires, contact one of our female sexual function specialists at University Hospitals. We can provide diagnosis and treatment options to improve your sexual health.