What You Need to Know About Your Sexual Health

According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is defined as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to your sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.” In other words, sexual health is a combination of many factors and is an important part of our lives. Despite this importance, many people are embarrassed to discuss sexual health issues with their physicians. Literally millions of Americans experience sexual dysfunction, so you are not alone and your doctor can recommend solutions.

Men’s Sexual Health

Over 31% of men report some degree of sexual dysfunction and it is estimated that 30 million men in America experience erectile dysfunction. While sexual dysfunction is a common health problem affecting men of all ages, it is more common with increasing age. Common types of male dysfunction are:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Delayed or inhibited ejaculation
  • Low libido

Physical causes of sexual dysfunction can include:

  • Low testosterone levels
  • Prescription drugs (antidepressants, high blood pressure medicine)
  • Blood vessel disorders such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure.
  • Stroke or nerve damage from diabetes or surgery
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • Cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, surgery and come medications

Common psychological causes of sexual dysfunction are:

  • Concern about sexual performance
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Depression, feelings of guilt
  • Effects of past sexual trauma
  • Work-related stress and anxiety

The first step in addressing male sexual dysfunction is to speak with your doctor and have a frank and honest conversation. Treatment options are available to help you regain this important part of your life.

Women’s Sexual Health

Sexual dysfunction is more common among women than it is among men. In fact, 43% of women report some degree of sexual dysfunction. In addition, 34 million women worldwide have pelvic organ prolapse (POP) which can cause pain during sex.

The four main physical causes of female sexual dysfunction are:

  • Low sexual desire
  • Sexual arousal disorder
  • Orgasmic disorder
  • Sexual pain disorder

Psychological causes of sexual dysfunction can include:

  • Concern about sexual performance
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Depression, feeling of guilt
  • Effects of past sexual trauma
  • Work related stress and anxiety

It is interesting to note that while the physical causes of sexual dysfunction is different between men and women, the psychological causes are the same.

There are ways to improve sexual health in women both before and after menopause, which are:

  • Quit smoking
  • Be physically active
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Practice pelvic floor exercises
  • Increase the frequency of sex as it can increase blood flow to the vagina and keep tissues healthy.

Hormone therapy can improve sexual function in women and there are several new treatment options also available.

Most people are uncomfortable sharing concerns about sexual dysfunction with their physicians, but these trained medical professionals have the resources to help. At Kasraeian Urology, we help men and woman improve their sexual health. During the COVID-19 crisis, we are still serving our patients through televisits, and we are here for you. Please send us an email at tele@kasraeianurology.com and we will reach out to you with information about our available appointments.

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