Healing Female Sexual Dysfunction: Anorgasmia, GPPPD, Dryness, and More
In honour of Pelvic Pain Awareness Month, I would like to focus today's article on not only Pelvic Pain, but on all Female Sexual Disfunctions.
Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is a prevalent yet often misunderstood health issue that affects women of all ages. FSD may manifest in various forms, such as anorgasmia, genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (GPPPD), and vaginal dryness. In this blog post, we'll discuss these common types of FSD and provide valuable insights into potential treatments and self-care practices to help women overcome these challenges and achieve a fulfilling sex life.
If you are experiencing some form of Sexual Disfuction please take this article as a sign to reach out to either myself or a health care professional.
If you are wanting to explore and enhance your pelvic health and vitality in general, check out my upcoming Pelvic Blossoming Program.
Anorgasmia refers to the persistent or recurrent difficulty, delay, or absence of orgasm during sexual activity. This condition can be classified into four categories:
Primary anorgasmia: A woman has never experienced an orgasm.
Secondary anorgasmia: A woman who has previously experienced orgasms but now finds it difficult or impossible.
Situational anorgasmia: A woman can achieve orgasm in specific situations or with certain types of stimulation but not in others.
Generalized anorgasmia: A woman cannot achieve orgasm under any circumstances.
Treatment options for anorgasmia:
a. Sex coach: a qualified sex coach and/or therapist can help women explore the psychological and emotional factors contributing to anorgasmia. Coaching and/or therapy can provide a safe space for open communication and help women develop healthier attitudes towards sex and their bodies.
b. Behavioral techniques: These include mindfulness, sensate focus exercises, and guided imagery, which encourage women to become more attuned to their bodies and to focus on the pleasurable sensations of sex rather than the goal of reaching orgasm.
c. Pelvic diaphragm exercises: Strengthening the pelvic diaphragm muscles can increase blood flow to the genitals and promote stronger orgasms.
d. Vibrators and sex toys: Incorporating sex toys or vibrators into one's sex life can help some women achieve orgasm by providing additional stimulation.
Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder (GPPPD)
GPPPD is a condition characterized by persistent or recurrent pain during vaginal penetration and/or marked fear, anxiety, or tensing of the pelvic diaphragm muscles during penetration attempts. This condition can lead to difficulties in engaging in sexual intercourse or undergoing gynecological exams.
Treatment options for GPPPD:
a. Therapeutic Yoni Massage and/or Pelvic diaphragm physical therapy: A specialized yoni massage practitioner and/or a physical therapist can help women with GPPPD by doing releasing bodywork and by teaching them how to relax their pelvic diaphragm muscles, manage pain, and improve muscle coordination.
b. Dilators: Vaginal dilators, which come in various sizes, can be gradually introduced to the vagina to help desensitize the area and make penetration more comfortable.
c. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help women address negative thoughts and emotions related to sex and learn coping strategies to manage anxiety and fear associated with penetration.
d. Sex therapy/sex coaching : A sex coach or therapist can help couples improve communication around sex, explore alternatives to penetration, and develop a more satisfying sexual relationship.
Vaginal dryness is a common issue that affects women of all ages, but it's more prevalent among menopausal and postmenopausal women due to hormonal changes. Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during sexual activity and increase the risk of vaginal infections.
Treatment options for vaginal dryness:
a. Lubricants: Water-based or silicone-based lubricants can provide temporary relief from vaginal dryness and make sexual activity more comfortable.
b. Vaginal moisturizers: Long-lasting vaginal moisturizers can be applied regularly to help maintain the moisture levels in the vagina.
c. Topical estrogen therapy: Estrogen creams, rings, or tablets can be prescribed by a healthcare provider to alleviate vaginal dryness by replenishing estrogen levels in the vaginal tissues. This treatment is especially helpful for menopausal and postmenopausal women experiencing dryness due to hormonal changes.
d. Oral hormone replacement therapy (HRT): In some cases, HRT may be prescribed by a healthcare provider to address hormonal imbalances causing vaginal dryness. However, it's essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits of HRT with a medical professional.
e. Natural remedies: Some women find relief from vaginal dryness using natural remedies such as consuming phytoestrogens-rich foods (e.g., soy products, flaxseeds) or taking supplements like black cohosh or evening primrose oil. It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider before starting any natural remedies.
Lifestyle Changes to Promote Healing
In addition to the treatments mentioned above, several lifestyle changes can help alleviate female sexual dysfunction:
a. Open communication: Discussing your sexual concerns and preferences openly with your partner can foster a supportive environment and help you both navigate the challenges of sexual dysfunction.
b. Stress management: High stress levels can negatively impact sexual function. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to manage stress effectively.
c. Healthy diet and exercise: A well-balanced diet and regular exercise can improve overall health, increase blood flow to the genitals, and boost mood – all factors that can positively affect sexual function.
d. Limit alcohol and tobacco use: Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can interfere with sexual function. Reducing or eliminating these substances can improve sexual health.
e. Prioritize self-care: Engaging in self-care activities like taking warm baths, using scented candles, or reading a book can help you feel more relaxed and connected with your body, which can enhance sexual experiences.
Other sexual disfunctions
In addition to anorgasmia, genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder (GPPPD), and vaginal dryness, there are other types of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) that women may experience. Some of these include:
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD): This condition is characterized by a persistent or recurrent lack of sexual thoughts, fantasies, or desire for sexual activity, resulting in personal distress or relationship difficulties. HSDD can be caused by various factors, such as hormonal imbalances, certain medications, stress, or psychological issues.
Sexual Arousal Disorder: Women with sexual arousal disorder may have difficulty becoming sexually aroused or maintaining arousal during sexual activity. This condition can manifest as insufficient vaginal lubrication, reduced genital sensitivity, or an inability to experience pleasurable sensations. Factors contributing to sexual arousal disorder may include hormonal imbalances, stress, anxiety, or relationship issues.
Sexual Pain Disorder: This category encompasses various conditions that cause pain during or after sexual activity, such as vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain), vestibulodynia (pain in the vaginal entrance), and dyspareunia (pain during or after sexual intercourse). These conditions can result from multiple factors, including infections, inflammation, nerve damage, or psychological factors.
Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD): PGAD is a rare condition in which a woman experiences persistent, unwanted, and uncontrollable genital arousal that is not related to sexual desire. This arousal may persist for extended periods, causing significant distress and discomfort. The exact cause of PGAD remains unknown, but it may be related to nerve dysfunction, pelvic venous congestion, or psychological factors.
It's essential to understand that sexual dysfunction can be caused by a complex interplay of physical, emotional, and psychological factors. Women experiencing any form of sexual dysfunction should consult a healthcare professional or a qualified sex therapist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.
To heal from hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), sexual arousal disorder, sexual pain disorders, and persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD), a comprehensive approach addressing the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects is essential. Here are some potential treatment options and self-help strategies for these additional female sexual dysfunctions:
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD):
a. Hormone therapy: If hormonal imbalances are contributing to low sexual desire, hormone replacement therapy or hormonal medications may be prescribed by a healthcare provider.
b. Flibanserin: This medication, approved by the FDA for premenopausal women with HSDD, can help increase sexual desire by acting on brain neurotransmitters. It's essential to discuss the potential benefits and side effects with a medical professional.
c. Sex therapy: A qualified sex therapist can help women explore emotional and psychological factors contributing to HSDD and develop strategies to enhance sexual desire.
d. Couples therapy: For those in relationships, couples therapy can help address communication issues, emotional intimacy, and other factors that may be impacting sexual desire.
Sexual Arousal Disorder:
a. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers: These can help alleviate insufficient vaginal lubrication and make sexual activity more comfortable.
b. Sensate focus exercises: These involve engaging in sensual touch without the goal of orgasm, helping women become more aware of pleasurable sensations and enhancing arousal.
c. Sex therapy: A sex therapist can help women identify and address the emotional, psychological, and relationship factors that may be contributing to arousal difficulties.
Sexual Pain Disorders:
a. Medical treatment: Depending on the specific cause of the pain, a healthcare provider may recommend treatments such as medications, topical creams, or physical therapy.
b. Therapeutic Yoni Massage or Pelvic floor physical therapy: A specialized therapist can help women learn to relax and control their pelvic diaphragm muscles, which can alleviate pain during intercourse.
c. Sex therapy: A sex therapist can help women and couples address the emotional and psychological aspects of sexual pain, develop coping strategies, and explore alternative ways to experience intimacy.
d. Dilators: Vaginal dilators can help desensitize the vagina and make penetration more comfortable, particularly for conditions like vestibulodynia.
Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD):
a. Medical evaluation: A thorough medical evaluation is crucial to identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to PGAD, such as nerve damage or pelvic venous congestion.
b. Medications: Depending on the specific cause, a healthcare provider may recommend medications to manage symptoms, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or nerve pain medications.
c. Psychotherapy: Counseling or therapy can help women address the emotional and psychological impact of PGAD and develop coping strategies to manage the condition.
d. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation can help women manage the distress and anxiety associated with PGAD.
It's essential to work with a healthcare professional or a qualified sex therapist to determine the most appropriate treatment options for each specific case. Open communication, a supportive environment, and patience are crucial for healing and restoring a satisfying sexual life.