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Q: What is Female Sexual Dysfunction?

A: Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) is a group of disorders, each of which involves less-than-satisfying sexual experiences. Desire Disorder occurs when a woman doesn’t feel “in the mood” for sexual activity. Arousal Disorder occurs when a woman has difficulty becoming vaginally lubricated and/or her sexual sensations are diminished. Orgasmic Disorder occurs when a woman has difficulty achieving orgasm or doesn’t achieve it at all. Pain Disorder occurs when a woman experiences pain during sexual intercourse.

Q: Does treatment for Female Sexual Dysfunction require surgery?

A: Not usually. Your physician will want to determine if an underlying gynecologic or urology issue is responsible for your sexual concern, and in some cases, those issues are treated surgically. One such example is urinary incontinence or leakage, a medical issue that can comprise sexual satisfaction. If the incontinence problem is not effectively addressed through non-surgical treatments, your physician may recommend surgery.

Q: Isn’t Erectile Dysfunction a normal part of aging?

A: No. Many men in their 60s, 70s and beyond have the ability to obtain and sustain their erections for satisfactory sexual activity. ED or impotence does not have to be part of your life as you grow older.

Q: Can ED be cured?

A: Yes. Most men with erectile dysfunction are reluctant to seek help, and then they are surprised with the range of options available to address this medical issue. Some men may benefit from modifying their diet and exercise routine. Others may benefit from drug therapy. Still others may see improvement with penile implants. It’s important to talk to your physician and ask questions about the issues that might be contributing to your ED and then seek to understand the options that might help you.

Q: How is testosterone helpful?

A: Low levels of the hormone testosterone may contribute to erectile dysfunction, low sex drive or libido, fatigue and low levels of energy, difficulty concentrating, depression and/or irritability. Research has shown testosterone to affect sexual desire as well as psychological well-being. Testosterone therapy has been used to benefit men for decades. It can be given in several forms including pills, patches, gels and injections.

Q: Can testosterone also be helpful to women with sexual concerns?

A: Yes. Testosterone is known as a male hormone and is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of sexual problems in women. However, your physician may prescribe testosterone in a compounded formula, which is a medicine made by a pharmacist just for you. The hormone product methyltestosterone is sometimes prescribed to menopausal women to improve their sexual desire and response.

Q: I hear advertising that suggests an erection lasting four hours is dangerous. Why is that?

A: An erection lasting 4-6 hours after sexual stimulation is a condition known as priapism. In many cases there is no clear cause, but the condition may be associated with a serious systemic disease such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, tumor infiltration, carbon monoxide poisoning or malaria. If you experience an erection lasting more than three hours, walking up stairs or applying ice packs to the penis may alleviate the condition. If not, you should seek prompt medical attention in the emergency room.

Q: What is the difference between an STD and an STI?

A: The terms “sexually transmitted disease” and “sexually transmitted infection” are often used interchangeable, but they are not one in the same. STI is the more inclusive term that refers to dangerous organisms that can be present in the body without causing disease. An STD is a disease that has progressed from a sexually transmitted infection. An STI is contagious – even if you have not developed the disease or symptoms of the disease. STDs can be treated – or even prevented – through screening and prompt treatment of STIs.

Q: Will my insurance coverage pay for these sexual medicine services?

A: Medical benefits in many insurance plans do cover the cost of sexual medicine services. Check with your insurance provider to better understand your specific benefit.