​Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder​

Generally, sexual dysfunctions are a group of disorders related to a particular phase of the sexual response cycle. Their source can be psychological, biological or both. The normal ‘sexual response cycle’ is the sequence of emotional and physical changes that occur in a person as a reaction to sexual stimulation and comprises of four steps: Desire, Arousal, Orgasm, and Resolution. ​

In hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) the first stage, which focuses on patient’s drives and motivations, is affected. Having a decrease or absence of sexual fantasies and/or desires is the most common type of sexual dysfunction in women. Most of the women battling such disease present with lack of desire. However it is imperative to understand that women’s sexual desire has a natural tendency to fluctuate. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, exhaustion by caring for children or elderly, major life changes and entering or ending a relationship often result in highs and lows.

The pathological causes of a reduced desire for intimacy include:

  • Pain during intercourse

  • Inability to achieve orgasm

  • Anti-depressant and anti-seizure medications

  • Any medical illness (cancer, arthritis etc.)

  • Low self-esteem or poor body image

  • Past history of sexual abuse

  • Relationship issues with partner

  • Smoking, alcohol or drug abuse

  • Any surgical scar, especially from surgery on breasts or genitals, which may lead to spoiling one’s body image

  • Depression or anxiety​​

If you believe you may be suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • A recurrent or persistent lack of interest towards intercourse, or even self-stimulation
  • Absence of sexual fantasies

  • This causes you personal discomfort ​

On the contrary, if your sexual drive is lesser than before, or you do not wish to indulge in intimacy as much as your partner does, it will not always indicate a disorder. Low desire is a subjective factor and there is no standard measurement for it. The vital aspect is that these symptoms bother you. For professional advice, you can consult the Women's Health Care Service Line at the Aga Khan University Hospital, where you can discuss all concerns at ease.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started. ​

You will get an opportunity to have a detailed chat with your physician, who might ask some personal and intimate questions. It may feel a bit embarrassing but it will allow your health care provider to conduct a proper assessment. A physical pelvic examination may follow.

If deemed necessary, certain blood tests may be ordered to evaluate you hormone levels, thyroid, cholesterol and rule out diabetes or liver disease.

Management of the disorder will be tailored to each individual’s requirements and preferences. If an underlying disease is identified, then the respective treatment regimen will be adopted. You may be directed towards any of these treatments:

  • Referral to a specialized counsellor or sex therapist

  • Hormonal therapy: oestrogen may be prescribed as oral pill, skin patch, spray, gel, vaginal cream, suppository or a ring placed inside the vagina

  • Flibanserin: medication prescribed as a daily pill to improve sexual drive in women.

  • Individual psychotherapy:  to address issues such as feelings of guilt, poor self-esteem or homosexual impulses

  • Lifestyle changes: directives to stop smoking, alcohol or drugs and exercise regularly

  • Couple’s therapy may be indicated if the disorder is linked due to marital conflict​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.