What Is Sexual Dysfunction in Men?
| What’s Available to Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Men?
| Who Shouldn’t Use Medications for Erectile Dysfunction?
| What’s Sexual Dysfunction in Women?
| What’s Available to Treat Sexual Dysfunction in Women?
It is important to understand the basics about sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction can affect both men and women. It is also common. Many men and women will experience some degree of sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives, and it becomes increasingly common as we age.
What Is Sexual Dysfunction in Men?
In men, sexual dysfunction refers to issues such as decreased desire, difficulty obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, and a variety of problems with ejaculation, ranging from premature ejaculation to the inability to ejaculate. Of these, difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection (
erectile dysfunction) tends to be of greatest concern. A variety of conditions can cause ED. Some causes include spinal cord injuries; high blood pressure; and the medications used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and
What’s Available to Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Men?
There are different medications available to treat erectile dysfunction. Some examples are
vardenafil (Levitra), and
tadalafil (Cialis). They all work in a similar fashion. They improve the functioning of nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical responsible for relaxing smooth muscle tissue. This in turn helps increase blood flow into the penis, allowing a man to achieve and maintain an erection.
Who Shouldn’t Use Medications for Erectile Dysfunction?
Men who have had a
abnormal heart rhythm
within the past six months should not use these medications. Furthermore, men who already use nitrate medications (for example, to treat
angina) or alpha-blockers should never use any of these medications. Men with severe liver or kidney disease; certain eye disorders; uncontrolled, high, or significantly low blood pressure; or who have been advised to avoid sexual activity due to unstable heart disease should also not take these medications.
What’s Sexual Dysfunction in Women?
In women, sexual dysfunction can take the form of decreased sexual desire or libido, difficulty becoming sexually aroused, decreased sexual enjoyment, inability to have an orgasm, abnormal vaginal muscular contractions (
vaginismus), or actual pain with intercourse.
What’s Available to Treat Sexual Dysfunction in Women?
There are no medications currently approved specifically for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction. Research is ongoing in this area. There has been research to find out if Viagra is effective for women, however the results are mixed. Bupropion, which is a type of antidepressant, has been found to be helpful in studies of women with decreased sexual desire. Studies have shown that sex therapy appears to be effective in addressing symptoms of sexual dysfunction.
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of male sexual dysfunction: A Couple’s Problem—2003 Update. Available at:
https://www.aace.com/files/sexdysguid.pdf. Accessed August 19, 2012.
Berman JR. et al.
Female Sexual Dysfunction. Noble Textbook of Primary Care Medicine. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc.; 2001.
Cialis (tadalafil) tablets. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Available at:
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021368s012lbl.pdf. Updated October 2007. Accessed August 19, 2012.
Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 25, 2012. Accessed August 19, 2012.
Female sexual arousal disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed August 19, 2012.
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 5, 2010. Accessed August 24, 2012.
LaSalle MD, et al.
Male Sexual Dysfunction. Noble Textbook of Primary Care Medicine. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc.; 2001.
Levitra (vardenafil HCI) tablets. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Available at:
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021400s010lbl.pdf. Published October 2007. Accessed August 19, 2012.
Phillips NA. Female sexual dysfunction: evaluation and treatment.
Am Fam Physician. 2000 1 Jul;127-140.
Viagra (sildenafil citrate) tablets. United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/druginfo/Viagra.htm. Published October 2007. Accessed August 19, 2012.
Last reviewed August 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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