Sexual problems in women and what to do about it

Sex is an important part of a woman’s life. However, several sexual problems can affect the enjoyment of sex and ruin one’s sexual health.

Getting to know what these common issues are can help you self-diagnose your condition and seek medical help when needed.

Symptoms of sexual problems in women

You can encounter sexual problems at any stage of your life. It can happen repeatedly and frequently in certain situations or all situations.

The state of one’s body, mind, relationships, beliefs, and lifestyle are factors that determine if one’s sexual activities are positive or negative. Any disruption to any factor can affect your sex life. Here are some common sexual problems women face.

Lack of sexual desire

In this situation, you lose your interest in intimacy. When your partner wants sexual intercourse, you are more likely to refuse the activity.

Pain from sex

You may experience pain during and after sex. Pain can be felt in your vagina, vulvar, or pelvis. Pain can also be linked to sexual stimulation. Plus, pain can cause difficulty in urinating.

Orgasmic disorder

If a woman suffers from this health concern, she cannot reach orgasm. This condition can occur repeatedly in certain sexual situations or in all situations.

Lack of sexual arousal

With this problem, you still want to have sex, however, you cannot get aroused or sustain your arousal during the sex.

Risk factors for sexual problems in women

Sexual problems in women can be caused by a number of factors. Here are some:

• You have certain medical conditions that affect your sexual function. These conditions include heart disease, cancer, bladder problems or kidney damage.

• You take certain medications such as antidepressants or drugs that are used to control your blood pressure. Drugs taken during chemotherapy also can reduce your sex drive.

• You are experiencing changes in hormone levels. Accordingly, you may have lower levels of oestrogen which can lead to loss of sensation. It also takes more time to build up arousal. A decrease in oestrogen also leads to vaginal dryness and vaginal lining thinning. This makes the act of sexual intercourse painful.

• You have emotional problems. Stress and anxiety can affect your sexual desire.

• You have kidney, liver, heart, or blood vessel diseases.

• You were a victim of sexual abuse in the past.

When to see a doctor

If the symptoms make you worry and affect your relationship with your partner, see a doctor. You should also seek help from a doctor if your symptoms get worse.

What you can do before your appointment

Before your doctor’s appointment, make sure you have all the information about your condition, and a list of all relevant questions to ask.

This is information you should have on hand:

• Your symptoms: Know the severity of the symptoms, when it occurs, and how it happens.

• Your medical history: Tell your doctor if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as a pregnancy, diabetes, cancer or heart disease. If you are taking medications, tell your doctor about the types and the dosages.

• Your sexual history: Tell your doctor if you experienced sexual abuse or sexual assaults in the past. Also, tell the doctor about your high-risk sexual activities, if any.

You should also make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. These questions could include your condition, how to treat it, how long treatment takes, and potential complications. Feel free to ask. The doctor will answer your questions.

Sexual problems such as lack of sex drive or painful intercourse can keep you from enjoying your sex life.

These problems can be the result of hormonal diseases, diabetes, heart diseases, stress or traumatic events in the past. If the problems last for more than a few months, you should see a doctor.

This article first appeared in and was medically reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.