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Sexual Health Center

Sexual Health Risks

Sexual health is an important component of good general health and well-being. There are many factors that can impact sexual health and the development of a sexual disorder or dysfunction.

Signs and Symptoms

Each sexual disorder has its own set of symptoms all of which are influenced by being male or female and the presence of physical and/or psychological symptoms. These are some of the symptoms that can be present with a variety of sexual disorders:

  • Painful intercourse
  • Difficult attaining or maintaining an erection or erectile dysfunction
  • Absence of orgasm
  • Genital pain or discomfort during intercourse
  • Purulent drainage from genitals
  • Lack of sexual desire or reduced libido
  • Premature ejaculation

Risk Factors to Develop a Sexual Disorder

There are many risk factors to developing a sexual disorder. While such disorders are not genetically based, they range from the effects of simple aging to medical issues like diabetes, neurologic conditions or heart disease. The topic of sexual dysfunction is often a difficult one to begin discussing with a physician but this is a critical step in developing a treatment plan to address a problem. A few things that can cause or influence sexual dysfunction are:

  • Chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease or neurologic disorders
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Depression or past sexual trauma
  • Certain prescribed drugs such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and some anti-hypertensive medications
  • Relationship issues including financial concerns, abuse, child-rearing philosophy and work related problems
  • Nerve damage to back or spinal cord from injury or illness
  • Performance anxiety or nervousness about the ability to sexually satisfy a partner
  • Menopause and the reduction of estrogen and alteration of other hormones in the body
  • Physical presence of an ovarian cyst or pelvic tumor

Negative Effects of Sexual Disorders

Sexual disorders can cast problems on a relationship. It is important to strive for open communication between partners, regardless of the root cause of the sexual dysfunction. Many issues are easily treated while others require more intensive and long term therapy or treatment. It is critical to rule out a physical cause of the dysfunction before moving forward with the development of a treatment plan.

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