A recent study published in journal, BMJ Open, discovered that more than a third of 5,000 women aged between 16 and 74 lost interest in sex for three months or more last year.
And almost two thirds of female participants admitted that they find their lack of libido worrying.
According to the Sexual Advice Association, the findings aren’t out of the ordinary as around a third of pre-menopausal women and a half of mature women cite low libido as a main cause of problems in their sex life.
And although the issue is not exclusive to women (as one in five men also experience low libido at some point in their sex lives), they have the advantage of viagra.
Over the past few years, scientists have been working on a female equivalent known as bremelanotide and it has recently undergone three successful clinical trials in the United States. Originally designed as a tanning tablet in the 1980s, it instead discovered that it put female testers ‘in the mood’. Therefore, Palatin Technologies soon began to develop the drug as a treatment for low libido in women.
The revolutionary tablet works by binding to chemicals in the brain which are responsible for sexual desire and also increases production of the chemical, dopamine.
The drug has been proven to improve a woman’s libido and also reportedly made sex more pleasurable for premenopausal women. Having almost completed its trials, bremelanotide could soon land on shelves across the globe as the first female viagra.
But it isn’t all plain-sailing, as there are several factors to consider.
“There are many physical reasons why women lose their desire for sex, including illness and pelvic pain,” Dr Catherine Hood revealed. “It may be that drugs could help solve issues that are caused by genuine chemical or hormonal imbalances, but these are just one small part of a bigger picture when it comes to low libido in women.”
And these physical factors are often overlooked when trying to come up with ways to improve a woman’s libido.
Myra Robson, senior women’s health therapist at the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, revealed: “We see women who are trying to maintain good sex lives while dealing with issues such as endometriosis, which can cause deep pelvic pain; fibroids, which affect the lining of the womb, and stress incontinence, which affects one in three women after childbirth.”
She continued, “These things need to be sorted out first before we go for the candles and the chocolates, and long before we even think about female Viagra.”
Dyspareunia, known as painful sex, is one of the most common causes of a low libido in women. According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2015, approximately 30 percent of women suffer from the condition.
While incontinence, which affects one in three women across the UK, is also a leading cause for a low sex drive. But what can women do in the hope of improving their sex lives in the meantime?
Experts recommend pelvic floor exercises under the guidance of a specialist physiotherapist for those suffering from incontinence. While apps such as Squeezy can also prove useful.
“Women can also try simple techniques like going to the loo before sex and abstaining from coffee and tea, which are mild diuretics,” added Dr Hood.
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