Female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) may occur in up to one-third of adult women in the US. The essential feature of female HSDD is a deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
The evaluation of female HSDD generally requires careful and thoughtful consideration of the patient and the multitude of factors that impact on the various components of adult female sexual desire. Several female reproductive life experiences may uniquely affect sexual desire. These events include menstrual cycles, hormonal contraceptives, postpartum states and lactation, oophorectomy and hysterectomy, and perimenopausal and postmenopausal states. Sexual dysfunctions in women have strong positive associations with low feelings of physical and emotional satisfaction and low feelings of happiness. Thus, female HSDD can greatly impact on quality of life.
In this article, treatment options are discussed with special attention to significant reproductive life events that may impact on sexual desire in adult women. Depending on the particular phase of reproductive life that a woman is experiencing, different recommendations are made. Various options in the treatment of HSDD in women include lifestyle changes, treatment of coexisting medical or psychiatric disorders, switching or discontinuing medications that could impact on sexual desire, hormone therapy and marital therapy. Clinical trials are presently underway to assess medications that may potentially benefit female patients with HSDD.
No funding was used to assist in the preparation of this manuscript. The author is a speaker for and has received research grants from GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Solvay.
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