Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
Contributed by: Abshar Faheem


Understanding Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder


The hypoactive sexual desire disorder is referred to as a female sexual interest or arousal disorder that causes deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and lowered sex drive in women. This condition is considered as a type of mental and physical sexual dysfunction that causes a lack of motivation in women at least for 6 months or more leading to interpersonal difficulty and a significant level of distress.

Around 10 percent of women experience hypoactive sexual desire disorder regardless of age however, men may also get affected with lowered sexual desire. The hypoactive sexual desire disorder can be persistent and involves sadness, a sense of grief, feelings of incompetence, loss, and frustration. Many women get symptoms of HSDD due to aging and changes in their body, however, if this condition is affecting your quality of life, self-esteem, and relationships, talk to your doctor immediately. 


Symptoms of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

If there are extreme changes in your sexual desire, it can be HSDD. The symptoms of HSDD may include:


  • Little or no interest in sexual activity
  • Experience of high personal stress due to lack of sexual desire
  • Few or no sexual thoughts and fantasies
  • disinterest in initiating sex
  • difficulty getting pleasure from sex
  • lack of pleasure sensations when the genitals are stimulated


Diagnosis of Hypoactive sexual desire disorder

There is no particular test to diagnose HSDD however, there are few strategies that may help doctors in diagnosis. They may ask about your symptoms and questions regarding your sexual drive. They may try to find out an underlying condition that might be causing HSDD. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is also diagnosed when the woman’s signs cannot be associated with various types of sexual disorder, medications, or medical and psychological conditions. Causes of HSDD can be physical, emotional, or a combination of both. 

Physical causes of HSDD may include


  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Decreased estrogen and testosterone levels
  • Hormonal changes during or after pregnancy 
  • Fatigue or exhaustion due to work
  • Taking certain medications including antidepressants and drugs to treat high blood pressure can affect sex drive


Emotional causes of HSDD may include


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • trust issues with a sexual partner
  • Sexual functioning of the partner
  • A negative attitude about sexuality
  • Emotional or physical abuse 


Your healthcare provider doctor may conduct a pelvic exam to find out changes that may have affected your sexual desire. In addition, your doctor may ask for a blood test to check the levels of hormones. Sometimes, there can be no particular underlying cause but it does mean that your HSDD cannot be cured. 


Treatment of HSDD

There can be numerous ways to cure HSDD. First, your doctor finds out the underlying condition that may be causing symptoms. They can ask regarding your medications because certain medications including antidepressants may have side effects causing low sex drive in women. However, do not stop taking medications without the doctor’s approval. If your doctor finds out that emotional or psychological issues are the main cause of HSDD, he or she may recommend a counselor. 

The counseling can help to improve communication with your partner as well as recommend better sexual techniques for more pleasurable sexual intercourse. Women with premenopausal and postmenopausal experience a reduction of blood flow into the vagina causing lowered estrogen levels. Your doctor may recommend estrogen therapy if changes in your estrogen levels cause HSDD. 

There are certain medications for HSDD including pill flibanserin, however, these medications are not allowed to everyone due to possible side effects such as low blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting. 


Lifestyle changes can help to relieve stress

Certain lifestyle changes may help to reduce stress and improve libido in women. These lifestyle changes include: 


  • Regular workout
  • Schedule some time for intimacy
  • Try new sexual experiments including different positions, sex toys, etc
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Practice stress-relieving techniques


The bottom line

Don’t affect your general health because of decreased sexual desire. Treatments are available that can help to prevent HSDD. If you feel symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately because those symptoms can impact the quality of your life. We hope you find this article useful for yourself. 


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