Female sexual dysfunction is another problem that we deal with on a regular basis. Probably the most difficult aspect of urogynecology or pelvic floor disorders is evaluating a woman who has a perceived problem with female sexuality or enjoyment, with intimacy and intercourse. There can be a variety of different things that are playing into the problem, for example, a woman may all of a sudden feel like she’s lost her libido and is no longer feeling like she wants to be intimate or have relationships. There can be a local problem that occurs that results in pain in the vaginal canal or somewhere else in the genital tract.
When we see a woman who has these problems, we have to go to great lengths to really try and understand how it is impacting her quality of life. Many times that can involve bringing her husband or her partner into the discussion and sort of understanding what their perceptions are, and differentiating reality from an inappropriate perception. We spend a lot of time in these settings, trying to get to the bottom of what we are trying to accomplish. And again that really involves understanding the quality of life impact it is having on the patient, on her relationships, and on her health in general.
Prevalence of Female Sexual Dysfunction
It is difficult to come up with a specific number or percentage of women that actually suffer from female sexual dysfunction. Some studies have shown as many as ninety-eight percents of women when asked a variety of questions about sex, and intimacy, and libido have a perceived problem. Most women perceive that things could be better, that things maybe are not as normal or as appropriate as they should be. So it is very important to again understand what a patient is experiencing and then help her realize what is realistic, and hopefully work together at achieving that realistic goal.
Treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction
The treatment of female sexual dysfunction is specific to obviously what woman is having problems with. The treatment can involve nothing more than therapy. And I’m helping her and her partner understand some of the things that they could be doing that are may be contributing to the problem, or not doing that could be helpful to helping the problem. If it is an actual anatomic problem, if she has got some scar tissue or some complication from a previous surgery that is causing pain, or the inability to appropriately have vaginal intercourse, that certainly is addressed in a whole different fashion.
As a woman ages and she loses her hormones, many times there is a drying of the vaginal skin, and there are therapies with hormones, and lasers, and other things that we can utilize in that setting. So again, therapy is specifically directed to the specific patient and her specific problem. Having a clear understanding of the all-inclusive pelvic floor issues is extremely helpful in managing these patients.