Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) Treatments for Female Sexual Health

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) Treatments for Female Sexual Health

The person who reviewed this article

Written by the Everbliss Editorial Team
Published on 7/13/2023

If you are a woman struggling with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), know you’re not alone. HSDD is a common problem that can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life. Fortunately, there are numerous safe and effective treatments available that can help relieve symptoms.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of HSDD, including its causes, symptoms, and diagnosis. We’ll also cover the different types of treatment options available, ranging from non-pharmacological to hormonal to medical.

Below, we are going to cover the following:

Understanding Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is a condition that affects millions of women around the world, diminishing their ability or desire to engage in sexual activity. Researchers estimate that roughly 1 in 10 women experience HSDD at some point during their life and that it can be caused by physical, psychological, or biological factors.

What is HSDD?

HSDD is defined as a lack or absence of sexual desire that causes distress or interpersonal difficulties and is not a result of a medical or psychiatric condition or the effects of medication. It usually involves a persistent or recurrent difficulty in responding to sexual cues or spontaneously engaging in sexual activities. Women who experience HSDD may also have a diminished level of satisfaction with sexual orgasm.

Causes of HSDD in Women

The causes of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) in females are diverse and can be due to a variety of underlying issues, including:

  1. Medical conditions that affect hormone levels, such as diabetes or thyroid problems
  2. Side effects of medications
  3. Psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, or past trauma
  4. Stress and fatigue
  5. Eating disorders and substance abuse

It is important to note that HSDD can also be caused by a combination of these factors and not just one specific cause.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of HSDD

The symptoms of HSDD can vary from woman to woman but typically include a lack of interest in sexual activities and a lack of sexual desires. Women with HSDD may also experience feelings of guilt, frustration, and shame due to their lack of sexual desire.

Diagnosing HSDD can be challenging, as differentiating HSDD from other sexual disorders involves a physical and psychological evaluation coupled with careful consideration of medical and personal history. A pelvic exam may be necessary, along with blood tests and hormonal evaluation, to identify a potential cause of the disorder.

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Treatment Options for HSDD

There are several treatment options available for women who are experiencing HSDD. These options include:

  1. Counseling or therapy to address underlying psychological issues
  2. Medications that can increase sexual desire, such as testosterone therapy or flibanserin
  3. Lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and improving sleep habits
  4. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or herbal supplements

It is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

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Non-Pharmacological Treatments for HSDD

HSDD, or hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is a condition that affects many individuals and can have a significant impact on their quality of life. While pharmacological treatments are available, non-pharmacological treatments can also be effective in managing HSDD. Let's explore some of the non-pharmacological treatments available for HSDD.

Psychotherapy and Counseling

Psychotherapy and counseling can be effective for managing HSDD by targeting underlying psychological problems. Often, counseling focuses on improving communication, building a better relationship between partners, and addressing negative or harmful thoughts. Couples therapy is particularly beneficial, improving communication and strengthening intimacy for both partners.

During counseling, individuals can explore the root causes of their HSDD, such as past traumas, anxiety, or depression. By addressing these underlying issues, individuals can work towards improving their sexual desire and overall sexual health in life.

Relationship and Communication Strategies

Enhancing communication, specifically talking about one’s sexual wants and needs, can contribute to initiating sexual activity and refurnishing that spark. Understanding what turns one’s partner on during sexual activity can aid in increasing sexual activity frequency and levels of sexual performance.

Additionally, embracing the emotional connection and bonding that comes with sexual activity can be an empowering tool for increasing sexual desire.

It is important to note that communication and relationship strategies are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Individuals and couples may need to try different approaches to find what works best for them. Open and honest communication between partners can help to ensure that both individuals feel heard and understood.

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Lifestyle Changes and Stress Management

Loading up on healthy habits can help manage HSDD. Eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet, managing stress levels through mindfulness and meditation techniques, and engaging in regular exercise can all help improve one’s sexual desire and positively affect sexual functioning.

Stress can have a significant impact on sexual desire and function. By managing stress levels, individuals can reduce their risk of developing HSDD and improve their overall sexual satisfaction. Exercise is a particularly effective stress-reducer, as it releases endorphins that can improve mood and reduce anxiety.

In addition to exercise, individuals can try other stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. These techniques can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.

Read moreCauses of low libido in women

In conclusion, HSDD can be a challenging condition to manage, but non-pharmacological treatments such as counseling, communication strategies, and lifestyle changes can be effective in improving sexual desire and satisfaction. By addressing underlying psychological issues, improving communication and relationships, and managing stress levels, individuals can take steps toward improving their sexual health and overall well-being.

Hormonal Treatments for HSDD

Hormonal treatments for HSDD can be an effective way to address the underlying causes of HSDD and restore a woman’s interest in sexual activity.

- Estrogen Therapy

Estrogen therapy is most effective for post-menopausal women. Estrogen therapy can increase vaginal lubrication and blood flow in the vulva area, resulting in improved sexual functioning and desire.

- Testosterone Therapy

Testosterone therapy is used to treat low sexual desire and symptoms of sexual dysfunction in premenopausal and post-menopausal women. Testosterone can increase sexual interest, arousal, and orgasm frequency. However, testosterone therapy comes with many side effects, such as acne, hair growth, and decreased breast size, and should be taken with caution.

- DHEA Supplements

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements can help improve sexual desire in women. The body naturally produces DHEA, and supplemental DHEA can regulate hormone levels and increase sexual pleasure and orgasm frequency.

Pharmacological Treatments for HSDD

There are currently two FDA-approved medication treatments available for HSDD: Flibanserin and Bremelanotide.

Flibanserin (Addyi)

Flibanserin is taken daily. It works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which increases sexual arousal and desire. However, the drug has many side effects like nausea, fatigue, and low blood pressure and should not be taken with alcohol.

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Bremelanotide (Vyleesi)

Bremelanotide (Vyleesi) is taken as needed, around 45 minutes before sexual activity. It helps to activate the melanocortin system, which stimulates sexual desire. The drug has been shown to have some side effects, like nausea and headaches.

Off-Label Medications and Future Treatments

Antidepressants like Wellbutrin and Adderall can also be used off-label as they show promise in treating HSDD. Several other drugs are currently being developed for HSDD that utilize different mechanisms.

Regardless of which type of treatment you choose, managing HSDD can be daunting. However, through the use of one or a combination of the treatments described above, you can regain control over your sexual health and enjoy the many benefits that come with active sex life.

Consult your physician to determine which of these treatments may be right for you.

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HSDD is a common condition that can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing a lack of sexual desire or other symptoms of HSDD. With the right treatment, women can regain their sexual desire and improve their overall well-being.


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This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.