Clitoral Atrophy Symptoms and Treatments
When sexual dysfunction is mentioned, most people think of male Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Why wouldn’t they? ED is in commercials, movies and magazines. Billions of dollars are spent on treatments for male sexual dysfunction, and it has become an accepted and common topic of discussion.
What about female sexual dysfunction? Have we been conditioned to believe that only men have sexual dysfunction or has society deemed female sexual dysfunction a less important issue?
Anatomically, men and women are much more alike than they are different. Both male and female sexual responses are moderated by hormone levels, blood flow and healthy tissue; so, many of the same therapies are effective in both genders. We have all heard of erectile dysfunction, but for women, the most common sexual dysfunction is “Clitoral Dysfunction”, or Clitoral Atrophy.
What Causes Clitoral Atrophy?
As we age, our bodies change, hormone levels decline, circulatory function degrades, and comorbidities emerge which can further complicate matters. All of these factors influence sexual health and wellness.
As women mature, they will begin to go through menopause or possibly have a hysterectomy, which will play a major part in hormone level changes. These changes can cause degradation of vaginal tissue, and result in vaginal atrophy. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include thinning of the vaginal walls, vaginal dryness, loss of natural protective barriers (lubrication), burning, itching, discomfort during sex, urinary urgency, and more.
In addition to vaginal atrophy, some women may experience clitoral atrophy, which is defined by the clitoris shrinking and no longer responding to stimulation. Similar to erectile dysfunction, clitoral atrophy (dysfunction) is typically a result of reduction in hormone levels, reduced blood flow to the area, and lack of use. If clitoral atrophy is not treated, then it can result in painful intercourse, loss of sexual drive, and in the worst cases, disappearance of the clitoris entirely. This means the clitoris can retreat into the body, and the hood will fuse over it, making it extremely difficult to stimulate.
Treatment For Clitoral Atrophy
Fortunately, there are several available treatments to reverse clitoral atrophy:
HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY with estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, and oxytocin can be very effective at rejuvenating vaginal tissue, restoring lubrication, and igniting a healthy libido.
VAGINAL ESTROGEN therapies improve vascularization and lubrication of the vulvar and vaginal areas, but may prove to be inadequate in restoring a healthy libido.
LOW DOSE TESTOSTERONE AND/OR DHEA have proven to be very effective at increasing libido and overall energy. These hormones can be used sublingually, topically or vaginally.
OXYTOCIN is a hormone that is referred to as the “cuddle hormone”. It can be used by men and women to increase sexual and emotional responses, and can have vasodilatory effects that will increase blood flow.
PHYSICAL STIMULATION & STIMULATION ENHANCERS
Regular stimulation through sexual activity or masturbation helps to maintain the health of the clitoral tissue. Use of stimulating creams, gels, and toys are also beneficial when trying to restore sensation and stimulate blood flow. There are both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (RX) stimulating products available that increase sensitivity and clitoral engorgement, resulting in greater sexual satisfaction and orgasmic capacity. There is a large selection of self-stimulation aids that vary in use, application, and price.
BLISS is an OTC hemp derived, cannabis infused intimate oil that is produced by Ananda. It is a fast acting blend of natural ingredients that increases blood flow & sensation, boosts mood & libido, and provides lubrication.
“O” CREAMS (SCREAM CREAMS) are available in OTC and RX forms. In general, they are creams, gels, or oils that contain counterirritants that provide cooling or warming sensations (ie. Menthol, peppermint, sucralose, capsaicin, essential oils). Prescription versions can contain counterirritants, but they will also contain medications like vasodilators, muscle relaxers, and blood flow enhancers. Testosterone can be added to prescription “O” Creams if desired.
ALPROSTADIL CLITORAL CREAM is a prescription product that has proven to increase blood flow, perfusion and sexual satisfaction. In clinical studies utilizing vaginal alprostadil, researchers used thermal imaging of the clitoris after application as well as subjective reports of increased satisfaction and ability to climax in order to prove efficacy.
PDE5 INHIBITORS, such as Viagra and Cialis, are another therapy option for women and can be taken orally or used topically. These drugs increase blood flow, which aids in clitoral engorgement, vaginal lubrication and sensitivity.
PROCEDURAL STIMULATION ENHANCERS such as The “O” Shot are medical procedures that can have a wide range of benefits. The “O” Shot involves injecting a patient’s own platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the clitoris and surrounding vaginal areas to encourage tissue regeneration and increase blood flow. This may benefit a wide variety of conditions including vaginal dryness, sexual dysfunction/painful intercourse, difficulty achieving orgasm (anorgasmia), chronic vaginal or pelvic floor discomfort, and more. Increased sexual pleasure may occur immediately, but it typically takes up to three months for the maximum effects to be felt and some women may request to repeat the procedure over time.
PULSE WAVE THERAPY is another medical procedure that is designed to have the same effects of the “O” shot, only this is a non-invasive option. Results are achieved by using low intensity “shockwave” therapy to reinvigorate sexual tissue and perfusion capabilities. Goals of therapy include increased blood flow, lubrication, and orgasmic capacity, and restoration of elasticity in the vaginal canal. It may take several sessions before the maximum benefits are felt and it is up to the patient’s discretion on how frequently she would like to repeat therapy.
Get The Best Treatment For You Today
Our goal at Stanley Specialty Pharmacy is to help all of our patients by improving sexual wellness and increasing awareness of treatment options for important issues such as female sexual dysfunction. Whatever treatment option you choose, from a supplement like our popular nitric oxide offering or a more hormonally-based approach, we’re here to help. If you have questions regarding symptoms and/or treatments, please call us today at (704) 370-6612!