Our expert says:
There are three primary types of experimental treatment for female sexual dysfunction:
Education on female anatomy, arousal, and response; where blood flow, hormone levels, and sexual anatomy are normal
Hormone replacement therapy (including treatment of the underlying disorder)
Vascular treatment (including treatment of the underlying disorder)
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 (HRT) is aimed at restoring hormone levels affected by age, surgery, or hormone dysfunction to normal, thus restoring sexual function. Estrogen and testosterone levels are measured and treated by endocrinologists.
Sildenafil (Viagra®), used in men with erectile dysfunction, is currently being tested in women. Some evidence suggests that it may restore libido lost to antidepressant use.
A medical condition that causes diminished blood flow to the vagina must be addressed in light of sexual dysfunction. However, some women who are not diagnosed with underlying medical conditions have found that nonprescription topical solutions, such as Sensua!™ (formerly called Viacreme®) or Viagel®, increase sensitivity and assist in achieving orgasm.
Sensua!™ is an amino-acid based (L-arginine) solution that contains menthol. L-Arginine is involved in nitric oxide synthesis, which is responsible for vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle relaxation. When applied to the clitoris, Sensua!™ may increase blood flow by dilating clitoral blood vessels. More research being done to assess the possible effects and complications of topical creams.
The 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.
You can call SA Sexual Health Association on 0860 100 262 for a referral in your area, or the DISA Sexual & Reproductive Health Clinic on (011) 787 - 1222
Dr Elna McIntosh
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