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Female Sexual Dysfunction: A Problem Hidden in the Shadows

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Background: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) has been largely underdiagnosed and undertreated due to the lack of concrete definitions, validated assessment methods and efficient treatments. However, during the last few decades, there has been great progress in the clinical management and research of FSD.

Objective: The purpose of this review is to describe the pathophysiology of FSD, report the prevalence of the disease in the setting of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and disease, and review current and under investigation treatment options.

Methods: A comprehensive review was performed to identify studies examining the association of FSD with CV risk factors and/or disease, as well studies reporting relevant management options.

Results: The prevalence of FSD is increased in the general population (approximately 40%) and is significantly higher in patients with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia. In patients with overt CV disease, FSD is even more prevalent (up to 90%). The cause of FSD is multifactorial and includes a variety of vascular, hormonal, interpersonal and psychological factors, which are all intertwined. Several treatment options exist that are efficient in improving female sexual function, while a cluster of other options has been shown to offer benefits.

Conclusion: FSD is a major public health problem with great impact on the patients’ quality of life. In the setting of increased CV burden, FSD is even more prevalent. Increased awareness is needed for the physician to establish a trustful environment with the patient, discuss such issues, and offer proper management options.

Keywords: Female sexual dysfunction; cardiovascular disease; diabetes mellitus; drug-related sexual dysfunction; dyslipidemia; hypertension; sexual dysfunction treatment

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2021

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    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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