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Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Women Taking Antidepressants Get Sexual Benefit From Viagra

A new study involving 98 pre menapausal women, found that women taking antidepressants can also benefit from taking Viagra. The average age of the women was 37 and they agreed to attempt sexual activity at least once each week and to take a pill one to two hours before sex for eight weeks.

The women who underwent the trial, were successfully using antidepressants but were also experiencing sexual problems including a lack of arousal or pain during sex. The women found that taking Viagra helped them with natural viginal lubrication and to achieving an orgasm but the benefits did not extend to any emotional aspects of sex such as desire or arousal, according to the researchers.

Antidepressants can interfere with the sufferer's sex drive and performance, even if the drugs are helping to relieve crippling or debilitating depression. Changing to a different drug or reducing the dosage of the drug can help. Many men and women often stop taking their antidepressant medications because of the negative impact it has on their sex lives.

More than half of the women interviewed, felt that the antidepressant medication they were taking was the cause of the sexual problems. Prior studies have found that antidepressants work by increasing the chemical serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is thought to slow down orgasm, perhaps by diminishing the release of another brain chemical, dopamine. Viagra was found to increase blood flow to the female sex organs.

An earlier study in men taking antidepressants found more pronounced sexual benefits with Viagra than the benefits found for women, according to author Dr. George Nurnberg, a psychiatrist at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque.

Viagra was therefore not recommended for women with sexual dysfunction. Dr Nurnberg said that the message for men and women who needed antidepressants was that Viagra can help them stay on the drugs. Dr Nurnberg said that in such cases it was more than a lifestyle issue, it was an absolute medical necessity.

Half of the women in the study were given placebos pills which had no pharmacological effects. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 73 percent of the women given placebos reported an improvement with Viagra treatment, while only 28 percent of the women taking Viagra said they did not notice any improvement.

The conclusion of the study found that Viagra did provide relief for women taking antidepressants who were experiencing difficulty in achieving an orgasm. Some of the women did experience headaches, flushing and indigestion as side effects of taking Viagra but none of them withdrew from the trial because of side effects.

What is Sexual Dysfunction in Women?

There are Four Different Kinds of Sexual Problems in Women:

Desire disorders - When you are not interested in having sex or have less desire for sex than you used to.

Arousal disorders - When you do not feel a sexual response in your body or you cannot stay sexually aroused.

Orgasmic disorders - When you cannot have an orgasm when you have sexual intercourse.

Sexual pain disorders - When you experience pain or physical discomfort during or after sex.

What Causes Sexual Dysfunction in Women?

Many factors can cause problems a women's sex life. Certain prescription medicines such as oral contraceptives and chemotherapy drugs, diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, excessive alcohol use or vaginal infections can all cause sexual problems. Depression, relationship problems or abuse (current or past abuse) can also be a cause of female sexual dysfunction.

Women may experience less sexual desire during pregnancy, immediately after childbirth or when they are breastfeeding. After menopause many women feel less sexual desire, experience vaginal dryness or have pain during sex due to a decrease in the hormone estrogen in the body.

The stresses of everyday life can also affect a woman's ability to have sex. Being physically tired from work or caring for young children can affect sexual desire. Women may also be bored in a long-standing relationship, with a fixed sexual routine with their partner that leaves them dissatisfied and need to add more erotic imagination to increase sexual desire and pleasure.

How Do you Know if You Have a Problem?

Up to 70% of couples have a problem at some time with sex in their relationships. Most women will have sex that does not feel good at some point in her life but that does not necessarily mean that there is a sexual arousal problem.

Sexual dysfunction is only really a problem if you never or seldom have the desire to have sex or if having sex never feels pleasurable or satisfying.

What Can You Do?

If desire is the problem, changing your usual sexual routine can help. Try having sex at different times of the day or try different sexual positions or explore new fantasies together.

Some arousal disorders can often be helped if you use a vaginal cream or sexual lubricant for dryness. If you have gone through menopause, talk to your doctor about taking estrogen or using an estrogen cream.

If you have a problem reaching an orgasm, you may not be getting enough foreplay or stimulation before actual intercourse begins. Extra stimulation (before you have sex with your partner) with a vibrator may be helpful. You might need rubbing or oral stimulation for up to an hour before having sex to be suitably lubricated. It is not uncommon for women not have an orgasm during sexual intercourse.

If you are experiencing pain during sex, try different sexual positions. If you are on top of your partner, you may have more control over the angle of penetration and range of movement. Emptying your bladder before you have sex, using extra lubrication or taking a warm bath may also help. There are a variety of possible causes of pain during sex, if the pain you experience persists, then talk with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Can Medication help?

If you have gone through menopause or have had your uterus and/or ovaries removed, taking the hormone estrogen may help with sexual problems. If you do not feel ready to take estrogen, speak to your doctor about other options.

You may have heard that taking sildenafil citrate (Viagra) or the male hormone testosterone can also help women with sexual problems. There have been recent studies on the effects of Viagra in women, which show an improvement in all areas of their sexual activity.

What Else Can You Do?

Learn more about your body and how it works. Ask your doctor about how medicines, illnesses, surgery, age, pregnancy or menopause can affect your sex life.

Squeezing the muscles of your vagina tightly which are called Kegel exercises and then relaxing them may also increase your arousal.

Try sexual activity other than intercourse, such as massage, oral sex or masturbation.

About the Author

has over 20 years experience as a sexual health medical practitioner and has specific expertise in male sexual dysfunction.