Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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There are many ways to treat sexual dysfunction, including counseling, treatment of other physical problems, mechanical devices, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements. Here is a quick overview of some of these different options.
The cause of sexual dysfunction can be physical, medical, or psychological. Physical causes include several health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, injury, surgery, or hormonal imbalances. Side effects of medications used to treat these conditions or other conditions can also have negative sexual side effects. Psychological causes can include stress, anxiety, marital problems, depression, and previous traumatic sexual experiences.
Whether it affects arousal, performance, or climax, sexual dysfunction is a real problem for the men and women who have it. Once the problem is identified, sexual dysfunction may resolve on its own, or it may respond to treatment or resolution of the underlying condition.
Sildenafil , tadalafil, or vardenafil may be used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. It works by improving blood flow to the penis.
Certain natural remedies may be helpful for sexual dysfunction. For example, the herb Korean red ginseng might be helpful for men who have ED, and the hormone DHEA might be helpful in improving sexual function in older women.
Note: Since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these products, their purity and safety is often in question. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advises that no complementary health therapies have proven to be safe and effective. In fact, safety is a serious concern with regard to dietary supplements promoted for ED or sexual enhancement. Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medications or supplements.
In addition to medications and natural remedies, examples of other treatment options include:
If you are having problems with sexual function, remember it is treatable. Make an appointment to talk with your doctor so you can find a safe treatment plan that works for you.
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Sex & U—The Society of Obstetricans and Gynaecologists of Canada
Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113875/Erectile-dysfunction. Updated February 29, 2016. Accessed October 24, 2017.
Erectile dysfunction—sexual enhancement. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. Available at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/sex/erectiledysfunction.htm. Updated October 4, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2017.
Impotence. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated December 15, 2015. Accessed October 24, 2017.
Sexual dysfunction in women. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated December 15, 2015. Accessed October 24, 2017.
Sildenafil. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T233582/Sildenafil. Updated October 6, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2017.
Last reviewed October 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 1/24/2014