What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?
Sexual dysfunction consists in persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasms or pain, that distress you or strain your relationship with your partner.
Many women experience problems with sexual function at some point, and some have difficulties throughout their lives. Female sexual dysfunction can occur at any stage of life. It can occur only in certain sexual situations or in all sexual situations.
Sexual response involves a complex interplay of physiology, emotions, experiences, beliefs, lifestyle and relationships. Disruption of any component can affect sexual desire, arousal or satisfaction, and treatment often involves more than one approach.
What Are Common Symptoms of Sexual Dysfunction?
Symptoms can vary depending on the type of sexyal dysfunction you’re experiencing, some examples are:
- Low sexual desire. This most common of female sexual dysfunctions involves a lack of sexual interest and willingness to be sexual.
- Sexual arousal disorder. Your desire for sex might be intact, but you have difficulty with arousal or are unable to become aroused or maintain arousal during sexual activity.
- Orgasmic disorder. You have persistent or recurrent difficulty in achieving orgasm after sufficient sexual arousal and ongoing stimulation.
- Sexual pain disorder. You have pain associated with sexual stimulation or vaginal contact.
What Causes Sexual Dysfunction?
Sexual problems can develop when there is a hormonal change, such as after having a baby or during menopause. Major illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease can also contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Factors that contribute to sexual dissatisfaction or dysfunction include:
- Physical. Any medical condition, such as cancer, kidney problems, autoimmune disorders, can lead to sexual dysfunction. Also, some medications including antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines can decrease the sexual desire and the body’s ability to experience an orgasm.
- Hormonal. Low estrogen levels after menopause may lead to changes in the genital tissues and sexual responsiveness. A decrease in the estrogen levels can cause decreased blood flow to the pelvic region, which results in less genital sensation, as well as needing more time to build arousal and reach orgasm. The vaginal lining can become thinner and less elastic, which can lead to painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Sexual desire also decreases when hormonal levels decrease.
- Psychological and social. Untreated anxiety or depression can cause or contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Current Treatment Options
Because female sexual dysfunction has many possible symptoms and causes, treatment varies. Women with sexual problems most often benefit from a combined treatment approach that addresses medical and emotional issues.
Medical treatments might include:
- Estrogen therapy. Localized estrogen therapy comes in the form of a vaginal ring, cream or tablet. This therapy benefits sexual function by improving vaginal tone and elasticity, increasing vaginal blood flow and enhancing lubrication.
The risks of hormone therapy may vary depending on your age, your risk of other health issues such as heart and blood vessel disease and cancer, the dose and type of hormone and whether estrogen is given alone or with a progestin.
- Ospemifene (Osphena). This medication is a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It helps reduce pain during sex for women with vulvovaginal atrophy.
- Flibanserin (Addyi). Originally developed as an antidepressant, flibanserin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for low sexual desire in premenopausal women.
Regenerative Medicine Treatments
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment aims to increase the self-healing ability of the human body by increasing neovascularization and collagen formation through the effect of high concentration autologous growth factors administered to the tissue.
PRP has been used in atrophic diseases such as lichen sclerosus in the vagina, stress urinary incontinence, episiotomy scars, and lubrication disorders in the vagina.
The first use for sexual dysfunction in women was performed by Charles Runels under the name of O-Shot. Improvement of sexual functions was reported with PRP administration to the G-spot.
Sexual stimulation of women is known to be provided mostly by touching. The most sensitive point to stimulus in the female body is the genital area. In the vagina, the lower one-third of the anterior region has been proved to have more nerves immunohistochemically and it is known that the response of the distal anterior vaginal wall to contact and to pressure is higher than the other part of the vagina.
A study published in the Turkish Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology evaluated the use of PRP injection in the lower one-third of the anterior vaginal wall for sexual function, orgasm and genital perception in women with sexual dysfunction and orgasmic disorder, evaluated with a scale called Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).
Four sessions of PRP were administered to the anterior vaginal wall of 52 female patients and . Following the application they observed an increase in the FSFI scores in 50% of the patients. They also found an increase in satisfaction of the patients following the procedure and with no adverse events being reported.
Benefits of O-Shot
Some benefits that a patient can expect from this procedure are:
- Decreased or resolved pain during sex.
- Increased ability to have vaginal orgasms.
- Greater arousal from clitoral stimulation.
- Increased lubrication.
- Younger and smoother skin.
- Increased elasticity in the vaginal canal.
O- Shot at Zignatenix
At our clinic we combine the incredible benefits of PRP with a more powerful source of growth factors, mesenchymal stem cells. The high concentrations of growth factors of the combined therapy can stimulate cellular repair and regeneration. They can increase the production of collagen and new blood vessels, which also increase the regenerative capabilities.
At the clinic a small amount of blood is drawn at the time of the procedure and put on a centrifuge to obtain the PRP. Then the PRP is isolated and combined with the MSCs to be injected in the area around the clitoris and in other areas of the vaginal wall. The patient is able to go back to its regular activities after the procedure and resume sexual activity the day after.
Sukgen G, Ellibeş Kaya A, Karagün E, Çalışkan E. Platelet-rich plasma administration to the lower anterior vaginal wall to improve female sexuality satisfaction. Turk J Obstet Gynecol. 2019;16(4):228-234. doi:10.4274/tjod.galenos.2019.23356