Purpose of review
To review recent publications in the area of sexual dysfunction in females including the adolescent age group.
Though as many as 40% of adult females have a sexual dysfunction, the incidence among adolescent females is unknown. Though over half of adolescents are sexually active, sexual dysfunction is not a term universally accepted among the general public as well as researchers. Research on sexual dysfunction in females typically starts with age 18 years or over. Causes of sexual dysfunction include medical disorders, gynecological problems, which started from the adolescent age, psychiatric disorders, and complications of medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics, and others. Management includes identification of the specific sexual dysfunction and treatment of the underlying condition, including surgical treatment in such cases as absent vagina or obstetrics fistula. Psychological therapy is helpful when psychological factors are contributory to the dysfunction. Pharmacologic principles of management cases can, for example, include treatment of gynecological problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or endometriosis as a cause of sexual dysfunction or include removal of the offending drug, use of glutamatergic strategies or trazodone in SSRI-association dysfunction, and addition of bupropion or other medications in select cases. No medication is FDA-approved for sexual dysfunction in females.
Sexual dysfunction in females includes lack of sexual desire, sexual pain disorders (as dyspareunia), anorgasmia, and sexual arousal dysfunction. Acceptance of the high incidence of sexual dysfunction in all female populations is necessary to appreciate this phenomenon in the adolescent cohort, because some gynecological disease can arise from the adolescent age and can cause sexual dysfunction. Some sexual dysfunctions require immediate treatment, including surgical in the case of congenital anomaly, ovarian cyst, or tumor. Current understanding is based on extrapolation of research in the adult population. Management principles include removal of offending drugs and treatment of underlying disorders. Research in the adolescent population is recommended for more understanding and acceptance of this phenomenon in this age group.