How is female sexual dysfunction treated?

The ideal approach to treating female sexual dysfunction involves a team effort between the patient, healthcare providers and trained therapists. Most types of sexual dysfunction can be corrected by treating the underlying physical or psychological problems. Other treatment strategies focus on the following:

  • Providing education: Education about human anatomy, sexual function and the normal changes associated with aging, as well as sexual behaviors and responses, may help a woman overcome her anxieties about sexual function and performance.
  • Enhancing stimulation: This may include the use of erotic materials (sexual stimulation devices, videos or books), masturbation and changes to sexual routines.
  • Providing distraction techniques: Erotic or non-erotic fantasies; exercises with intercourse; music, videos or television can be used to increase relaxation and eliminate anxiety.
  • Encouraging non-coital behaviors: Non-coital behaviors (physically stimulating activity that does not include intercourse), such as sensual massage, can be used to promote comfort and increase communication between partners.
  • Minimizing pain: Using sexual positions that allow the woman to control the depth of penetration may help relieve some pain. The use of vaginal lubricants can help reduce pain caused by friction, and a warm bath before intercourse can help increase relaxation.
  • Medication: Flibanserin (Addyi®) is the only medication approved to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. Only women who are premenopausal are candidates for treatment. Sometimes hormonal therapies are used in postmenopausal women, though hormonal therapies are not FDA approved for this purpose.

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