Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction
Female sexual dysfunction can be treated with the help of medicines, hormone replacement therapy, education or alternative medicine.
Treating female sexual dysfunction includes:
When blood flow, hormone levels and sexual anatomy are normal, education on female anatomy, arousal and response can help to treat sexual dysfunction. Educating both women and men on how to talk about and respond to a woman's psychological and physical stimulatory needs can only happen if both partners recognize that there is a problem. Behavioral and sex therapists note the need for partners to examine the actual act of having sex, including foreplay, intercourse, and talking about sex. Sex therapists and psychologists may assist in improving communication between partners.
Hormone Replacement Therapy -
Hormone replacement therapy is aimed at restoring hormone levels affected by age, surgery, or hormonal dysfunction to normal, thus restoring sexual function.
- Estrogen replacement therapy - Localized estrogen therapy in the form of a vaginal ring, cream or tablet can improve sexual function by improving vaginal tone and elasticity, increasing vaginal blood flow, enhancing lubrication, and having a positive effect on brain function and mood factors that impact sexual response. Oral medications are also helpful.
- Androgen therapy - Androgen therapy involves treatment with the male hormone, testosterone. Low testosterone levels are also associated with a decline in sexual arousal, genital sensation, libido, and orgasm. However, clinical studies are underway assessing the potential benefits of testosterone for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction.
Other medications under investigation for treating female sexual dysfunction are-
- Sildenafil (Viagra®) - Sildenafil serves to increase relaxation of clitoral and vaginal smooth muscles and increases blood flow to the genital area. Used in men with erectile dysfunction, it is currently being tested in women. Some evidence suggests that it may restore libido lost due to antidepressant use.
- L-arginine -This amino acid functions as a precursor of nitric oxide, which mediates relaxation of vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle. When applied to the clitoris, L-arginine may increase blood flow by dilating clitoral blood vessels. L-arginine has not been used in clinical trials in women; however preliminary studies in men appear promising.
- Phentolamine (Vasomax) -Currently available as an oral preparation, this drug causes vascular smooth muscle relaxation and increases blood flow to the genital area. This drug has been studied in male patients for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. A pilot study in menopausal women with sexual dysfunction demonstrated enhanced vaginal blood flow and improved subjective arousal with the medication.
Eros Therapy - Eros Therapy is an FDA-approved device for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction. This small handheld device is used 3 to 4 times per week to increase blood flow to the clitoris and external genitalia, which improves clitoral and genital sensitivity, lubrication, and the ability to experience orgasm. It may take several weeks of conditioning before experiencing the benefits of this therapy.
Alternative medicine - Acupuncture and yoga can be helpful in some cases.