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Study: 40 Percent of Women Report Sexual Problems

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, November 03, 2008 10:29 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Flibanserin, Female Sexual Dysfunction, Women's Health, Boehringer Ingelheim, Distress


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons/ Bliss symbol/ author: Immanuel Giel

New research shows about four out of every ten women experiences sexual dysfunction. But of these women, only about one in four said their dysfunction causes them significant personal distress.

The study is published in the latest issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Boehringer Ingelheim International, the maker of fibanserin, currently being tested in clinical trials for female sexual dysfunction, funded the study.

According to the National Institutes of Health, sexual dysfunction can be classified as a lack of sexual desire, an inability to become aroused, a lack of orgasm or painful intercourse.

“While distressing sexual problems are less common in women than sexual problems overall, they affect approximately one in eight adult women. As part of a complete health assessment, it’s important that health care professionals ask their female patients if they have sexual concerns and if those problems are associated with distress, says study author Dr. Jan Shifren, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Vincent Menopause Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The study included 32,000 female participants ages 18 to 102 and found nearly 44 percent reported having sexual problems. 39 percent reported decreased desire, 26 percent reported arousal problems and 21 percent reported problems achieving orgasm.

Only 12 percent of the women reported significant distress associated with sexual dysfunction.

Age differences were also noted. “Older women had the highest rate of sexual dysfunction, but they experienced less associated distress,” Shifren said. “The most distress occurred at mid-life and the youngest women had the lowest rate of problems associated with distress.”

The study also found, women who suffer from depression are at twice the risk of experiencing distressing sexual problems compared to non-depressed women.

“The findings should serve as a reminder to health care professionals of the significance of sexual health,” says Sheryl Kingsberg, chief of the division of behavioral medicine at MacDonald Women’s Hospital.

Kingsberg is hopeful that due to many ongoing research efforts, women will have new sexual disorder treatments available to them in the future.

Another recent study, Sex, Menopause & Relationship, found men and women 50 and older expects the desire for and ability to have sex to lessen with age.

The findings also suggest women were more likely to be surprised and less prepared for physical changes. #

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