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Female Sexual Dysfunction

As a woman ages, her vagina becomes shorter and narrower. The walls of the vagina also become thinner and a little stiffer. Most women will have less vaginal lubrication as they get older. These changes and other factors such as illness, disability, and some medicines can affect sexual function. If you are having these problems, you are not alone. The three most common sexual issues reported by women are:

These problems may have physical or psychological causes. Physical causes may include conditions like diabetes, heart disease, nerve disorders or hormone problems. Some drugs can also affect desire and function. Psychological causes may include work-related stress and anxiety. They may also include depression or concerns about marriage or relationship problems. For some women, the problem results from past sexual trauma.

Occasional problems with sexual function are common. If problems last more than a few months or cause distress for you or your partner, you should see your healthcare provider.

If you're having vaginal dryness, try using an over-the-counter lubricant. If that doesn't work, talk to your doctor about other treatments, including estrogen therapy. If you are never in the mood for sex or it is painful, talk to your doctor about it. Don't be embarrassed. These concerns are not uncommon. Your doctor probably has helped many women like yourself. She or he can suggest treatments to help you achieve a healthy, satisfying sex life.

Sometimes, the sexual problems might not be yours, but your partner's. Male sexual problems do not just affect men. They also affect their female partners. Male sexual problems include:

As men get older, impotence becomes more common. By age 65, almost one in four men has this problem at least one out of every four times they have sex. Common causes include health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Some medications also can cause impotence.

If impotence is a problem, there are medicines men can take. These drugs increase blood flow to the penis and help make an erection possible. Encourage your partner to talk to his doctor about treatment.

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