Recent research has indicated that the prevalence of sexual dysfunction is high in both the sexes. Amongst females, the prevalence ranges from 25% to 60%, the average being around 40%. The exact incidence is difficult to find out since a large number of cases go unreported. This may be due to the social stigma attached to sexual disorders. However, with changing times, more and more women are becoming open to discuss their sexual problems with their physician and seek treatment for the same too.
Any problem that keeps a woman from experiencing sexual pleasure can be included in the umbrella term 'female sexual dysfunction'. Thus, female sexual dysfunction includes any of the complaints ranging from lack of sexual desire to absence of orgasm and anything in between. It is not uncommon for women to experience painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) but this again is one of the problems that go unreported.
An occasional problem with sexual function is a normal phenomenon but if this tends to get repetitive, timely treatment must be sought. Homeopathy evokes good response in most cases since the medicines work at the level of the body as well as mind. At Dr. Batra’s, we have been treating female sexual dysfunction for around 35 years now and have had good response in most cases relieving many women from their suffering. It is suggested that patients opt for treatment early on so as to experience maximum benefits from the treatment.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Women who suffer from persistent or recurrent problems associated with normal sexual function can experience significant mental distress and they are termed to be suffering from "female sexual dysfunction". Female sexual disorders are not only a source of stress for women but also a major cause for marital discord and strained relationships between partners.
The good news is that understanding the problem, communicating adequately with the partner and seeking prompt treatment can play a major role in helping out such patients since most of the causes of female sexual disorders are treatable.
The problems that keep a woman from enjoying sex can occur at any level of a normal sexual response and can present as one or more of the following:
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) / Inhibited Sexual Desire (ISD):
The woman does not have adequate or any desire for a sexual activity in this case.
Inability to become aroused / Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD):
In this case, there may be a desire for sexual activity but the woman cannot be aroused sufficiently.
Difficulty with orgasm / Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD):
One of the commonest of female sexual disorders, the woman does not reach orgasm / climax during sexual intercourse in this case.
Painful intercourse / Dyspareunia
A large number of women experience pain during sexual intercourse at some point of their lives making this a highly common disorder.
Lack of Sexual Desire
Lack of Sexual Sesire / Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) / Inhibited Sexual Desire (ISD)
In this case, the woman’s desire for sexual activity / libido is abnormally low or absent altogether. Women who suffer from inhibited sexual desire may even have a deficiency or a complete absence of sexual fantasies and erotic thoughts.
Low sexual desire is a problem with as many as one third of all women. Research has shown that happy women have a better desire for sex as compared to those women who are unhappy.
Inhibited sexual desire or low sexual desire can be primary (where the women has never felt much sexual desire) or secondary (where the woman previously had normal sexual desire but it is absent now due to various reasons).
Some of the common causes of lack of sexual desire in women are:
- Physical causes such as fatigue, insomnia, poor general health, hormonal problems like thyroid disorders, anemia, etc.
- Psychological causes like depression, anxiety disorders, lack of communication, lack of affection, past traumatic sexual experiences, strict upbringing, negative attitudes toward sex
- Drugs and medications such as contraceptive pills, antidepressants (especially Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), tranquilizers, etc.
- Lack of sexual desire is often associated with low testosterone levels.
- It sometimes happens that the woman has had painful intercourse recurrently in the past leading to a loss of interest in sex (since the act gets associated with 'pain' in the mind)
Inability to become aroused
Inability to become aroused / Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD)
Women suffering from Female Sexual Arousal Disorder repetitively face difficulty in getting aroused or maintaining the arousal sufficiently for sexual intercourse to occur. Inability to become aroused does not mean that the woman has no desire for sex – it simply means that even though the desire is present, the necessary physiological changes in the body (such as vaginal lubrication, increased blood flow to the labia, clitoris and vagina) do not occur.
Almost 20% of all women suffer from a difficulty in getting aroused. Due to this reason, the intercourse is often unsatisfactory or even painful. In the long run, lack of arousal can lead to avoidance of sexual intimacy and thus result in tension and discord.
Various reasons can lead to lack of sexual arousal in women:
- Physical causes such as damage to the blood vessels or nerves in the pelvic region; general medical conditions like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus; hormonal problems like thyroid disorders, menopause, etc.
- Psychological factors like emotional stress, depression, past sexual abuse, problems with the partner, poor self-image
- Due to certain medications such as anti-depressive medication, antipsychotic drugs, contraceptive drugs, sedatives, etc.
Difficulty with Orgasm
Difficulty with Orgasm / Female Orgasmic Disorder (FOD)
A persistent delay or an absence of orgasm / sexual climax plagues the woman in this case. Almost 24% of women suffer from some form of difficulty with orgasm; however not many would seek treatment for it.
Women suffering from female orgasmic disorder do get aroused and experience sufficient lubrication; however, they face difficulty in reaching climax and may not get an orgasm at all. This can get very frustrating for the patient and may lead to problems in the relationship. It is well worth mentioning here that in contrast to men, women can have multiple orgasms in a short period and these may vary in intensity and duration from case to case as well in the same woman from one time to another.
Female Orgasmic Disorder is classified as primary or secondary:
Primary: In this case, the woman has never had an orgasm - neither by self-stimulation (masturbation), nor by direct stimulation of the clitoris, nor through vaginal intercourse.
Secondary: Here the woman has had orgasms in the past but has lost the ability due to any of the causes mentioned below.
Some of the causes of female orgasmic disorder:
- Physical causes include a cultural practice involving removal of the clitoris (female genital mutilation); general medical conditions like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus; damage to blood vessels, nerves in the pelvic region, etc.
- Common psychological causes of difficulty in getting an orgasm are past sexual abuse, guilt about sex, relationship problems, major depression, stress, anxiety, fear of pregnancy, etc.
- Medications like antipsychotics, narcotics, antidepressants, etc.
Painful Intercourse/ Dyspareunia
Dyspareunia or painful intercourse is described as persistent or recurrent pain associated with sexual contact. The pain may occur before, during or after intercourse and can lead to significant distress. An estimated 60% of all women suffer from painful intercourse at various times. This is one of those conditions whose incidence decreases as the woman gets older and more experienced.
Common causes of dyspareunia (painful intercourse) include:
Infection: Vaginal infections like yeast infection, trichomoniasis, genital herpes are the commonest culprits.
Vaginal irritation: Use of contraceptive foams, creams, jellies, condoms, diaphragms, etc, tend to irritate the sensitive vaginal mucosa leading to pain
Dryness of vagina: If penetration is attempted before sufficient lubrication occurs, the friction may lead to pain. Vaginal dryness can also be caused due to anxiety, menopause, etc.
Vaginismus: The woman experiences strong involuntary spasms of the vaginal muscles during sexual intercourse. It is a reflex state that occurs due to anxiety in most cases. Occasionally, the woman may be suffering from a less severe state of vaginal tightness that occurs at certain times only.
Chronic Pelvic Pain: Diseases like ovarian cysts, uterine fibroid / tumors, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory diseases can lead to pain when there is deep, thrusting penetration. Even at other times, there can be a constant nagging pain that is felt in the pelvic region.
Vulvodynia: A chronic condition that presents as unexplained sharp or burning pain in vagina and vulva.
Pain in the clitoris: The clitoris being one of the most sensitive areas, is prone to develop pain
Psychological causes: Anxiety due to painful intercourse in the past, sexual abuse in the past, depression, stress, guilt, lack of attraction for partner, fear of pregnancy, etc.
Diagnosis of female sexual dysfunction is made largely from the history given by the patient. However, in addition to this, the following may be required to determine the reason for the same. Once the cause is diagnosed, proper treatment can help most patients to overcome their problems and lead a normal sexual life.
- A proper pelvic exam to check for any physical changes such as thinning of labia, decreased tissue elasticity fibroids, fungal infection, etc.
- Ultrasonography - To detect any cysts, fibroids, etc.
- Laparoscopy: This may be required in some cases to detect if there is any scarring, weakening of ligaments supporting the uterus, endometriosis, etc.
- Testosterone levels
- Blood tests to rule out anemia, thyroid disorders, lipid disorders, diabetes, etc.
- Vaginal pH testing to detect any bacterial infection of the vagina
The patient may be referred to a sex therapist for further analysis.
Homeopathy has helped multitudes of women to overcome their suffering and lead a normal sexual life once again. Plagued by worries of worsening marital discord, many women have sought treatment at Dr. Batra's for their sexual dysfunction and they have been happy about making the right choice of treatment. With our expertise and experience in treating patients for 35 years at Dr. Batra's, we can positively assure our patients of good results in most cases.
The first thing that must be borne in mind is that female sexual dysfunction is treatable and with combined efforts of a sex therapist and homeopathy, most women can help themselves significantly. Homeopathy, being a mind-and-body medicine, treats the patients at the level of the body as well as the mind, which is primarily essential for sexual dysfunction cases.
Lack of libido and inability to become aroused show good response to treatment with homeopathy especially since the cause is psychological in most cases. Another area where homeopathy can be of great help is dyspareunia or painful intercourse. A large number of cases of dyspareunia show positive response after homeopathic treatment and adequate counseling of the patient. Primary female orgasmic disorder is one area that takes time to respond to treatment and the results may not always be positive. However, secondary orgasmic disorders can be tackled effectively in most cases if the cause is adequately taken care of.
One of the common roadblocks to a good response to treatment is persistent anxiety about the results. Often women who seek consultation have reached a tough point in their personal lives and relationships due to their problem and have lost patience to stick to the treatment. If the partner can also be counseled along with the patient at such times, it goes a long way in attaining positive response to treatment. It is in the best interest of the patients that they opt for treatment as soon as possible - this can give optimum results and prevent any further progress of the condition.
Coping with Sexual Disorders
At Dr. Batra's, we have been treating patients with sexual dysfunction for 35 years and have had good response in most cases. Based on our experience and expertise, we have observed that making certain changes in lifestyle can go a long way in helping patients to cope with their problems. These tips have been clinically verified by our physicians time and again and have scientific backing as well:
- Enhancing communication with the partner especially about one's own choices, likes and dislikes makes a lot of difference in improving sexual dysfunction
- Regular exercise or aerobics improves the stamina and also improves the self-image
- Regularly perform pelvic floor exercises - also known as Kegel exercises - these can be done at any time of the day while you are sitting at home, in office or even while travelling. All you need to do is to tighten the muscles at your bottom as if you are suddenly stopping the flow of your urine. Hold this until you count five, relax and then repeat again. Doing these exercises several times daily can help in dealing with arousal and orgasm problems. They also help in dealing with Vaginismus.
- Get educated about the normal sexual response - it’s an important step to know how your body functions before you step out to treat the abnormality
- Seek a counselor or a sex therapist who will do way with your anxieties and help you face your problems in a better way
- Cut down on alcohol intake since too much of alcohol blunts the sexual responsiveness
- Quit smoking
- If there is an underlying cause of your problem, seek treatment for the same
- If you already on any kind of medication, ask your physician if that could be the cause of your complaints - if it is so, seek alternative medication
- Patience with the treatment is of prime importance since results are not magical or overnight - it takes time to see results