Sex is not only essential for procreation but also plays a key role in nurturing a healthy relationship. When one or both of the partners suffer from sexual dysfunction, the results may be as grave as male/female infertility and even broken relationships. Sexual dysfunction can affect both men and women and is as much a condition of mind as it is of body. At the same time, it is easy to resolve if a proper line of treatment is followed in time.
Being aware is important and so is shedding inhibitions because a large number of people shy away from treatment just because they are not comfortable with the idea of discussing such a private issue with the doctor. But getting timely help for sexual dysfunction is extremely essential as it can save relationships and preserve fertility of the couple.
What is sexual dysfunction?
As the name suggests, sexual dysfunction is the condition which interferes with sexual response and a person is unable to experience sexual satisfaction in one form or other. It may pertain to problems related to sexual interest, arousal, painful intercourse or orgasm, in both men and women. Though a common issue, the problem is something that people seldom come ahead with because they feel hesitant to discuss about it. Sexual dysfunction may affect people of any age though those over 40 are more susceptible to falling prey to it. The causes of sexual dysfunction may be diverse and these need to be identified quickly and effectively to get rid of the problem.
Sexual Dysfunction in Men
Erectile dysfunction is the most common condition that hampers the sexual performance of males. Men suffering from ED are unable to get or sustain erection which is essential to carry out sexual function properly. Ageing, stress, fatigue, depression and chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are the causes of ED.
Another common sexual issue with men is that related to ejaculation; he may ejaculate too early or may not be able to ejaculate at all. The condition is manifested in people who use antidepressant medication, have a traumatic sexual history or are suffering from anxiety about sex.
Poor sex drive in men again affects their sexual performance. Physical weakness may be responsible for low libido while hormonal disturbances and side effects of medications can also account for the same. In some men, poor sex drive can be attributed to psychological issues such as anxiety, stress and depression. The problem is self-aggravating as men fear poor performance and suffer even more.
Sexual Dysfunction in Women
Like men, women too can come across sexual dysfunction which is caused due to varied reasons. A large number of women suffer from vaginal dryness, which can make sex painful and uncomfortable for them. Hormonal changes related to menopause and breastfeeding are responsible for the condition. Similarly, some women experience vaginal dryness because of psychological problems like anxiety, fear and stress related to sex |(as she may worry about the pain she might feel, which may make the condition worse).
Besides vaginal dryness, endometriosis is another reason for a woman feeling pain during sexual intercourse. It may also be accompanied by a burning sensation, making sex all the more repulsive. For obvious reasons, women start losing their sexual desire for the fear of pain as the vaginal muscles do not get relaxed naturally. Anxiety, fatigue and antidepressants may be other reasons for the same. Another sexual disorder that is common in females is inability to reach orgasm or it may come slow and the causes may be same again.
How to deal with sexual dysfunction?
Recognizing a problem is the first step towards dealing with it because most people have difficulty in accepting that there is actually a problem with their sexual functioning. The diagnosis is more symptomatic rather than physical, where the doctor asks a series of questions on the medical and sexual history of the patient. Most of these involve evaluation of the patient’s fears and traumas related to sex, while a few supportive lab tests may be ordered to establish the exact cause of the dysfunction.
Treatment of sexual dysfunction is again a combination of medication, counseling and psychotherapy. Depending upon the underlying cause of the dysfunction, the doctor may recommend medication for restoring hormonal balance or treating other conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Mechanical aids like penile implants and vacuum devices can be the feasible options for some.
Psychotherapy, counseling and behavioral treatment can come to the rescue of patients who suffer from sexual dysfunction caused by psychological causes like stress, anxiety and depression. Such patients should also seek support of their partners and make some positive lifestyle changes such as weight maintenance and abstinence from smoking, alcohol and drugs.
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