Sexual function is a complex, multifaceted process mediated by neurologic functions, hormonal regulation, and psychological factors. What could possibly go wrong?
As it turns out, quite a lot. Female sexual dysfunction is a common, vastly undertreated sexual health problem that can have wide-reaching effects on a woman’s life. These effects may include impaired body image, self-confidence, and self-worth. Sexual dysfunction also can contribute to relationship dissatisfaction and leave one feeling less connected with her partner.1,2 Studies have shown women with sexual dysfunction have higher health care expenditures3 and that depression and fatigue are common comorbidities, as is frequently seen in other chronic conditions such as diabetes and back pain.4
Understanding the pathogenesis of female sexual dysfunction helps to guide our approach to its management. Indeed, increased understanding of its pathology has helped to usher in new and emerging treatment options, as well as a personalized, biopsychosocial approach to its management.
2016 Update on female sexual dysfunction
In this Update, I discuss the interplay of physiologic and psychological factors that affect female sexual function as well as the latest options for its management. I have also assembled a panel of experts to discuss 2 cases representative of sexual dysfunction that you may encounter in your clinical practice and how prescribing decisions are made for their management.