Sex and Antidepressant Use For Women

The current statistics say that 1 in 6 women in the US is on an antidepressant. And most of these medications cause a 50-75% risk of sexual dysfunction. Although men can experience sexual dysfunction with their depression medication, it is more likely to happen to womenThe rates of sexual dysfunction actually vary with the specific medication. Only 2% of women placed on bupropion report arousal difficulties and yet 82% of women report sexual dysfunction if they are on citalopram in a May Clinic report. It seems to be medications with stronger action on seratonin similar to citalopram, such as sertraline and venlafaxine,  are associated with higher rates of treatment caused sexual dysfunction.
Depression can contribute to sexual dysfunction and thus separating the causes of depression can be very difficult. Desire is an innately human experience and not necessarily linked to a time of a woman’s life or whether she has a partner. Of women reporting their sexual complaints desire is usually sited as their most common and their most distressing problem. Libido problems are often linked with problems of arousal orgasm or both. Specifically it is genital sensation that seems to be decreased which leads to the problem of sexual dysfunction. Depression is more likely to affect desire and arousal than orgasm, and if that is what you begin to experience it is more likely it is due to the medication you are on than other disorders. And of individuals reporting low desire they report extreme dissatisfaction with their sexuality. Since sexual health is a part of healing and fitness, it is an often over looked fact that treatment of depression is more likely to be successful if sexual health is preserved or reversed while depression is treated.
            Once a woman has decreased sexual desire her life is negatively impacted with many women reporting poor self-image, poor self-esteem, mood instability, depression and this then translates into strained relationships with their partners.
The more we understand the biology of our brain's sexual response the better physicians can help resolve problems and help you achieve healthier sexual response. Sexuality is stimulated by estrogen, testosterone, and the brain chemicals dopamine norepinephrine and melanocortin and oxytoxin. Sexual function is inhibited by serotonin, prolactin and endogenous opioids. Desire originates in the hypothalamus and by activating the brain dopamine system. Other areas kick in such as the limbic system. Sexual response is then moderated by the serotonin system. And your diet can heighten these chemical responses.

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