The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) recently held its conference for researchers, clinicians, physicians, and non-profit professionals for its 2nd annual What a Difference an X Makes: The State of Women’s Health Research. There were many important topics covered; one of them was Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, or HSDD, and the complications of current research into women’s health problems.
In addition to pain and the musculoskeletal system, the brain, the immune system, cardiovascular disease and therapeutics, obesity and comorbidities, HSDD was a very important, and taboo, topic. The presentation was given by researcher Sheryl Kingsberg, Ph.D. She Is a professor of Reproductive Biology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
She said, “There are many models of the human sexual response, not one being all encompassing. Because of this, the estimated 43% of all women who experience some sexual dysfunction in their lifetime have a variety of treatment options to follow.”
But what is the best treatment option? That is what researchers are hoping to discover with ongoing clinical trials and future research plans. However, there aren’t enough women participating in research trials and many researchers are not interested in delving further into women’s health problems for that reason.
HDSS is a sexual disorder found in men and women. The causes can be attributed to many factors, including a symptom of depression. It is not considered HDSS if there are other explanations for the decrease in sexual desire, such as loss of testosterone or depression. Medication can also decrease a libido. Differential Diagnosing is important for effective treatment.
The hypoactive sexual desire disorder can become onset during adolescence and continue throughout life. This disorder can be marked by decreased desire or even aversion. The types of treatment will depend on how long the disorder has been occurring and what the problem is. If it’s been a life-long aversion, changing how a person thinks and feels about sex can be very effective.
Interestingly, sex therapy may not be a good idea. If a doctor refers a couple to sex therapy when one partner simply does not find the other sexually appealing, more problems will arise for him or her, and the partner will experience increased issues with rejection. Instead, a therapist may want to find the root cause, such as a person not feeling control over the majority of his or her life in all other aspects and therefore uses sex to have some control. A patient who has a decreased sexual desire may have been a victim of sexual abuse or rape. There are many treatment therapies available and include:
- Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
- Behavior Therapy
- Clinical Hypnosis
- Group Psychotherapy
- Clinical Biofeedback
- Dialectical behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Eclectic Therapies
- Eye movement desensitization
- Focal psychodynamic therapy
- Marital and Sexual Psychotherapies
- Short-term dynamic psychotherapies (STDP)
- Client-centered psychotherapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy, and more
For a complete list and for details of each type of therapy, click here