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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Alternate Names : Inhibited Sexual Desire, Lost Interest in Sex, Diminished Libido, Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, Decreased Sexual Desire, Decreased Sex Drive

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

A woman of any age can become less interested in sex or have a decreased sex drive. This condition is called sexual dysfunction. It is most common in women before, during, and right after menopause has ended.

What is going on in the body?

In 1999, a national survey of people between the ages of 18 and 59 showed that sexual dysfunction was common among 43% of women and 31% of men. Women and men with poor physical and mental health are more likely to have a decreased sex drive. Someone who has had problems in sexual relationships is also more likely to have this condition.

Moreover, sexual dysfunction is closely linked with overall well-being because the female sexual response is more complicated than the male response. It is influenced to a greater degree by psychological and cultural factors.

A woman's sex drive is guided by a complex system of signals between the brain, the ovaries, and other reproductive sexual organs. A healthy brain, more than a healthy body, dictates a woman's desire for sex. Any disruption in this complex interaction may cause a woman to be less interested in sex.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Sexual dysfunction in women rarely has a single cause. The factors that may cause this condition include both physical and psychological causes. Physical causes include:

  • diabetes
  • vaginal yeast infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • heart disease
  • neurological disorders, such as stroke
  • pelvic surgery or trauma
  • side effects of drugs, such as antidepressants, narcotics, and illicit drugs
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • menopause
  • alcoholism
  • heavy smoking of nicotine or marijuana
  • drug abuse
  • breastfeeding
  • recovery after childbirth
  • Psychological causes may include:

  • stress from work, family, or relationships
  • chronic anxiety
  • concern regarding sexual dysfunction
  • marital discord
  • religious or cultural beliefs
  • unresolved sexual orientation
  • depression
  • previous traumatic sexual experience, including rape
  • history of incest or sexual abuse


    Next section


    Sexual Dysfunction in Women: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/02/01

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