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Sexual dysfunction is when you experience a change in your ability to want or enjoy sexual activity—and can take many forms. It is not limited to erectile dysfunction or lack of interest in sex—also known as low libido. It can manifest as an inability to maintain an erection or difficulty achieving orgasm, or can involve an inability to be present in the moment. While there are many causes of sexual dysfunction and low libido, there are also many ways to increase desire and reconnect with the joy of sex once you address the problem.
There are many things that can lead to sexual dysfunction. One of the most common causes is stress—if you’re feeling overwhelmed by what is going on in your life, it may not be that easy to get “into the mood.” Aging can also alter desire, and lead to decreased libido, due to changes in hormonal levels. Certain diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and being obese can be a cause of sexual dysfunction. Psychological issues can play a role too. Victims of sexual trauma often manifest sexual dysfunction. Drug and alcohol use, along with certain medications can also be factors. The body goes through many changes as you age. Some may interfere with your ability to enjoy sex, or carry out sexual activity comfortably. Others may contribute to sexual difficulties. The following are common causes of diseases and conditions that affect sexual health:
The following are risk factors for sexual dysfunction:
Male (Erectile Dysfunction or ED).
Female (Diminished libido and/or orgasmic disorder).
Diseases and conditions that affect sexual health are typically diagnosed by a primary care physician. Sexual dysfunction is most often diagnosed from a patient’s symptom report, though a medical history, physical exam, and blood test may be conducted in order to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other causes.
Sexual dysfunction in women is grouped into different disorders: problems with desire, arousal problems, sexual pain, and orgasm difficulty. Changes in hormone levels, medical conditions, and other factors can contribute to low libido and other forms of sexual dysfunction in women.
Specifically, sexual dysfunction in women may be due to:
The types of sexual dysfunction men may experience include:
Depending on the results of your examination, your doctor may order further testing or send you to an infectious disease specialist who is knowledgeable about sexually transmitted diseases or an endocrinologist who works with hormonal issues.
The symptoms of male sexual dysfunction are:
The symptoms of female sexual dysfunction are:
Sexual dysfunction is a common problem that can most often be treated and/or effectively cured. Speak to your doctor about your options for sexual dysfunction treatment.
Sex can be a powerful expression of intimacy, a lot of fun, and a great tool for protecting or improving health. Here are some suggestions on how to boost your sex life:
Sexual dysfunction is not typically screened for. Your primary care physician may ask you questions about your sex life during your physical. If you feel that you are suffering from symptoms of sexual dysfunction, tell your doctor. He or she will be able to assist you in a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Male treatments include:
Female treatments include:
For both males and females, counseling may be helpful in discovering and addressing underlying psychological and emotional factors behind sexual dysfunction.
There isn’t one magic potion that guarantees it will boost your libido. But there are some surprising and fun ways to make you and your partner feel more sexual without medical intervention. Here’s how:
Whether you have permanent ED from prostate surgery, or have gone through menopause and are suffering with vaginal dryness, plus a loss of libido, there are strategies to help you regain your sexual health:
For women who have a lowered libido there are also a number of options:
Make an appointment with your doctor:
Contact your doctor immediately if:
The first stop with any sexual health concern should be with your primary care physician. Women may be referred to gynecologist and men to an urologist. An infectious disease specialist is a doctor who works with patients who have STDs. An endocrinologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats hormonal issues. Depending on underlying conditions your doctor might also refer you to a neurologist, cardiologist, or therapist.
If you’re not enjoying sex or you lost your desire, these are the questions you might want to ask your doctor. Try not to be embarrassed. Your physician has most likely heard everything:
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