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When you hear about performance issues, lack of libido, sexual dysfunction, and frustration in the bedroom, it’s very likely you assume we are talking about these problems with men. No doubt you have seen your fair share of TV commercials, billboards, and advertisements in magazines that chronicle the all too frequent issues that men face with regard to a healthy sex life. It’s no wonder since the science and marketing of treatments for male sexual dysfunction is a multi-billion dollar industry. What you should know, is that many women are also plagued by performance issues, lack of libido, sexual dysfunction, and frustration in the bedroom.
The reason you may not know about these problems is they are not often talked about openly, or they are improperly characterized by some as personality or character flaw. Men who are not able to achieve or maintain an erection are often seen as suffering from a medical problem and have many avenues to treat these issues, while generally not being shamed when looking into them. However, historically, when a woman is unable to achieve orgasm - or has a lack of sexual desire - she is more likely to blame herself, or her relationship as strained or broken. It doesn’t help that there is only one FDA approved medication for treating a woman’s sexual dysfunction - which is minimally effective at best. "Vyleesi" - have you ever even heard of it? Consider yourself lucky if you haven't. Because of the lack of treatment options and understanding of the underlying issues, the majority of women who have some form of sexual dysfunction tend to suffer silently or are turned off by sex altogether.
Estimating conservatively that 30-50% of women (depending on their age) are affected by some sort of sexual problem, you’d think there would be treatment options in lockstep with the over 20 FDA approved drugs and supplements that are available for men. Is the reason for this disparity because male sexual issues are confirmed visually - lack of erection, inability to orgasm/ejaculate - and much of the anatomical map and function of a woman is still regarded as mysterious - or less important? It may be that this is the reason that so many women never bring up sexual dysfunction with their physicians. And while men get their choice of treatment options, women are offered...what?
Women's 'sexual dysfunction' has been categorized into a long list of seemingly different problems: Female Sexual Arousal Disorder, Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, Female Sexual Arousal Disorder, Female Orgasmic Disorder, and Dyspareunia. As a physician, and a woman, I have to believe these classifications have been defined for research purposes only. I've been treating women's sexual health for 20 years - I will tell you real women use different words to describe their concerns over sexual health, including the following:
"I have absolutely no interest in sex."
"I just feel 'dead' down there."
"I'm not as tight anymore."
"Unless we use lube, it hurts."
"I just do it for him."
"I smell different - we both notice it and it's embarrassing."
"I used to be able to have an orgasm, now I can't."
"It takes me too long to have an orgasm."
"I don't think I've ever had an orgasm."
"Having an orgasm doesn't feel the same."
"I'm afraid of losing bladder or bowel control when I have an orgasm."
"I don't care if I ever have sex again."
Ladies, believe me when I tell you this, above all else - Your partner WANTS to please you. Your partner doesn't care about what your post-child birth, 40, 50, 60, or 70 year old vagina looks like or how much time it takes to get you there. Your partner never wants you to leave you dissatisfied, never wants you to leave them for someone else, to be without you, or for you to want something they can't give. Let your partner love you fully at all stages of your life. If we are lucky, we will continue to add years to our age - and with that comes change. You think you do, but you really don't, want your 20 year old body back - she may have looked leaner and perkier, but she didn't know a thing about real life. Embrace where you are today. The very best years of life are ahead - let's figure out the body you are in today and restore what needs attention. Sex isn't just about having babies. We are all sexual beings - embrace the sexual relationship you have with your partner and/or with yourself. You can make it amazing again - or even better than it ever was.
WHAT IS THE O-SHOT®?
The O-Shot® is a safe and effective in-office treatment that uses PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and/or Advanced Regenerative therapies to help restore youthful sexual function and support healthy bladder control. The O-Shot® has been used for well over 10 years to improve sexual function in women using methods that stimulate cellular regeneration - so not a lube or a medication, a therapy that helps your body fix itself. The procedure is relatively fast and painless. It is done right in the office using two different methods of local anesthesia to make sure there isn't any discomfort. Start to finish, the whole thing takes about an hour to complete. There is no down time and no post procedure restrictions. The O-Shot® has been shown to stimulate vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation allowing for increases in sexual response, greater arousal, younger and smoother skin of the vulva, a tighter introits (vaginal opening), stronger orgasm, more frequent orgasm, increased desire, decreased pain for those suffering from dyspareunia, increased natural lubrication, and helps reduce urinary incontinence. We have even used a variation of this procedure to heal autoimmune conditions affecting the vulvar region like lichen planus and lichen sclerosis.
WILL IT WORK FOR ME?
First we talk. I always want to set reasonable expectations for patients. Absolutely no procedure works 100% of the time in 100% of patients, but in clinical studies, the outcomes were strongly positive. Women had an overall 94% satisfaction with the procedure and 74% reported marked improvement in urinary incontinence.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO WORK?
Ah - we are creatures of immediate gratification, aren't we? If you're given an antibiotic for a sinus infection, that antibiotic starts killing bacteria right away. When we're using regenerative thearpies of any kind, there is some 'lead time' because it takes your body time to heal. Generally speaking, women start to notice improvements in sexual and urinary function within 3 weeks. Generally speaking women will notice continued improvement out to about 6 months and then we see things level off.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS DO I NEED?
The effectiveness and duration of improvements gained from the O-Shot® vary, with some women experiencing results lasting up to 3 years. If PRP alone is used in the procedure, the studies show an average improvement time of 18 months. If we use Advanced Regenerative therapy instead, tissues continue to repair far longer and in a more robust fashion.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
There have not been any reported adverse side effects. We use some very tiny needles during the procedure, so there will be a few drops of blood - this is minimal. The treatment targeting the bladder can cause a sensation of 'I have to pee' for about an hour after the procedure, but then that resolves.
Sexual dysfunction can be affected by hormone levels, but can also be an indicator of other conditions such as cardiovascular, nerve, neurological or emotional distress. Libido in women is complicated! It's important that we address some of the other potential contributors - especially hormone therapy.
THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION
Some people benefit from alternative therapies such as acupuncture or herbal remedies like ginseng which can increase nitric oxide levels which improves blood flow. Physical therapy with a specialized provider can be extremely beneficial for women and for men in this department. There are other nontoxic, nonpharmacologic therapies using shockwave and pulsed energy that have shown to have a profoundly positive impact on sexual function.
LAST CALL FOR ALCOHOL
No, you don't have to stop altogether - but if you are serious about trying to do everything you can to improve this condition, maybe cut back to one or two per day.
TALK WITH YOUR PARTNER
Open communication can help to strengthen your relationship, help to restore lost confidence, and can help to reduce anxiety. It's important to know your own body. It's difficult for your partner to know what to do, if you don't know what feels good. If you aren't comfortable talking with your parter - or if that doesn't apply to you, talking with a professional counselor has benefits.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION...
Be sure to stay active - physical exercise improves just about everything. Drink plenty of water and follow a healthy diet. If possible quit smoking and limit alcohol use.
BREAK OUT THE YOGA PANTS
Anything you can do to reduce or eliminate stress and anxiety will help to build confidence. Take a walk, meditate, breathe.
Having performed hundreds of O-Shot® procedures, Dr. Kristen Lindgren is extremely skilled in this therapy. She has helped countless women improve their sexual wellness and bladder control using a multifacited approach with the O-Shot®.
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