Hypoactive sexual desire in women

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Abstract

Objective

This review aims to describe low sexual desire (1) as a construct within theoretical models of female sexual response, (2) as a sexual disorder with evolving or competing nosology between the DSM-IV-TR and the DSM 5, and (3) as a clinical condition that healthcare providers need to manage, and the current status of treatment options.

Methods

We conducted a literature review of the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of low sexual desire/hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

Results

The prevalence rate of low sexual desire is high, reaching 43%, whereas that of HSDD comes close to 10%. The DSM 5 categories of female sexual disorders include female sexual interest/arousal disorder, which is a combination of the DSM-IV-TR disorders HSDD and female sexual arousal disorder.

Results

 Treatment paradigms vary and are individualized based on the biopsychosocial components of desire that are compromised in a woman. The two primary approaches to treating HSDD are psychotherapy/sex therapy (individual or couples) and pharmacotherapy. To date, there are no Food and Drug Administration–approved pharmacologic treatments. However, four investigational drugs are in mid- to late-stage clinical trial development.

Conclusions

Low sexual desire is the most prevalent sexual problem in women and should be assessed and treated by healthcare professionals. Currently, there are only modest evidence-based nonpharmacologic treatment options and no approved pharmacologic options. Despite these treatment limitations, healthcare providers can address many of the sexual health concerns of women.

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