Female sexual health is a broad and complex field. At the Pinson Pelvic Health Center, we specialize in treating female sexual dysfunction.
Our many years of experience and compassionate approach make us the best choice; when you decide it’s time to take control of your symptoms, we are here to help.
Female sexual dysfunction
Female sexuality is a complicated process, influenced by psychological and physical factors. A woman’s attitude toward her body, the sexual act, and her partner can contribute to her symptoms of female sexual dysfunction. There are many physical factors to consider as well, including brain function, the health of the circulatory system, hormone levels, and the condition of the pelvic floor muscles.
Experts categorize sexual dysfunction as one or more of the following:
- Decreased libido, or sexual desire
- Orgasmic disorder, such as anorgasmia, or lack of orgasm
- Painful intercourse, or dyspareunia
- Vaginal dryness, or decreased lubrication
Vulvodynia and Vulvar Atrophy
Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition that occurs at or near the vaginal opening. The causes for vulvodynia vary but may include; inflammation, dryness, allergy reaction or sensitivity, and may also be related to other medical conditions such as eczema, lupus or other autoimmune disorders, and neuropathy.
Pain is the most commonly noted symptom of vulvodynia. It can be characterized as a burning, stinging, irritation or sharp pain that occurs in the vulvar region, including the labia and entrance to the vagina. It may be constant, intermittent or happen only when the vulva is touched, but vulvodynia is usually defined as chronic condition that has occurred over a long period of time. Symptoms may occur in one place or the entire vulvar area. It can occur during or after sexual activity, when tampons are inserted, or when prolonged pressure is applied to the vulva, such as while sitting, or riding a bike.
Vaginal dryness and atrophy (or loss of healthy tissue), is a condition that affects many women. This chronic and progressive medical condition has been estimated to affect up to 50%-60% of postmenopausal women.
Women with this condition may have a variety of symptoms. These may include vaginal and/or vulvar pain, external and internal irritation, and aches in the vulva and vagina. Vaginal dryness can also occur due to lowered estrogen levels and can be accompanied by itching, severe burning, discharge, and dyspareunia (painful intercourse). Women affected may also develop an aversion or fear of pelvic and digital examinations.
Pelvic organ prolapse
Prolapse literally means “to fall out of place”. Pelvic organ prolapse then refers to changes in the position of the pelvic organs including the bladder, rectum, and uterus. This change in position often leads to other urological symptoms such as incontinence, pelvic pressure, and discomfort.
There are several definable types of pelvic organ prolapse:
- This type is described when the connective tissues between the urinary bladder and the vaginal wall become weakened and the bladder begins to bulge into the vagina.
- This type occurs when the connective tissues between the rectum and the vagina weaken and the rectum is noted to bulge into the vagina.
- Uterine Prolapse:
- This type of prolapse is the result of muscle weakness in the tissues holding the uterus in position. When these muscles are weak the uterus then drops down into the vagina and in some severe cases protrudes out through the vaginal opening.
Symptoms of organ prolapse
The most common and bothersome symptom of pelvic organ prolapse is the pressing of the uterus or other organs against the vaginal wall. The pressure on the vagina may cause minor discomfort or problems in how your pelvic organs work. Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include:
- A feeling of pelvic pressure.
- A feeling as if something is actually falling out of the vagina.
- A pulling or stretching in the groin area or a low backache.
- Painful intercourse.
- Spotting or bleeding from the vagina.
- Urinary problems, such as involuntary release of urine (incontinence) or a frequent or an urgent need to urinate, especially at night.
- Problems with bowel movements, such as constipation.
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are worsened by standing, jumping, and lifting and usually are relieved by lying down.
Diagnosis and treatment
A pelvic examination is required to diagnose organ prolapse; it may be necessary to augment this exam with imaging tests such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The experienced, compassionate staff at the Pinson Pelvic Health Center will ensure you get the right testing and the best treatment.
If symptoms affect a woman’s quality of life, treatment may be necessary. There are several options for minimally invasive surgery, including:
- Traditional Laparoscopy
- This is the most common minimally invasive surgery. A very tiny camera and long, thin surgical instruments are inserted through a few small incisions; images from the camera play on a monitor to guide the surgeon.
- da Vinci Surgery
- This is similar to traditional laparoscopy, with the major difference being that the da Vinci System utilizes a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special wristed instruments.