Today we touch the topic of a female sexuality in relation to endocrinology functions.
Sexuality is multifaceted. It includes various functions:
• sensory experiences;
• personal maximally open communication;
• sexual self-affirmation – confirmation of the ability to attract and sexually satisfy a partner;
• physiological discharge of sexual tension;
• childbearing as a result of sexual activity.
The loss of even one of these functions of sexuality negatively affects the quality of life of a woman and a couple as a whole. Women’s sexual health problems are at the intersection of three specialties: gynecology, endocrinology and sexology, while, of course, primarily in the area of responsibility of a gynecologist-endocrinologist, who has all the necessary diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities. It should be understood that although the collection of a sexual history takes only a few minutes, unfortunately, neither a psychologist nor a sexologist will be able to provide medical correction of dishormonal disorders.
It must be taken into account that neuroendocrine regulation is the finest mechanism that accompanies all age periods of a woman’s life, starting with intrauterine differentiation of the gonads (sex glands), which occurs at 7-20 weeks of fetal development; individual parts of the brain (20-32 weeks); further, psychosexual development comes to the fore, proceeding in 3 main stages:
I. Formation of sexual consciousness (1-5 years);
II. Formation of a stereotype of gender-role behavior – a set of expected patterns of behavior (norms) for men and women (5-12 years old);
III. Formation of psychosexual orientations – stable preferences regarding the object of sexual desire and the method of implementing sexual intercourse (12-26 years).
After the completion of puberty, the neurohumoral component is necessary for the “energetic nourishment of sexuality.” Hormonal influence during this period provides sexual desire and excitability of the nervous structures that regulate sexual activity. Gradually, by perimenopause, the activity of the endocrine system decreases; proportionally subsides and sexual life.
So what is important for a woman to know and understand about her sexual health?
Modern medical science has made it possible to analyze the causes of dyshormonal disorders and, in cases requiring intervention, to use synthetic hormonal agents, taking into account the influence of natural hormones, and to ensure a quality intimate life for a woman, while maintaining her sexual function. Modern means of hormone replacement therapy make it possible to positively influence and maintain libido, lubrication, orgasm, and erogenous reactivity. High-quality and properly selected hormonal contraception will relieve a woman of the fear of unwanted pregnancy and will contribute to the initiation of sexual intimacy and the formation of the physiological rhythm of sexual life and ensure sexual harmony.
Tasks of a gynecologist and endocrinologist in the field of maintaining women’s sexual health:
1. Timely diagnosis and treatment of endocrine disorders leading to sexual desire disorders.
2. Accounting for the negative impact on sexuality of certain drugs.
3. Evaluation of the need and expediency of prescribing those hormonal drugs that can negatively affect sexual behavior.
4. Taking into account the age, the initial state of the hormonal and sexual functions of a woman when choosing a method of contraception.
5. A comprehensive assessment of the goals of hormone replacement therapy, including the demand for sexual function.
Today, the practitioner has only one difficulty left – the notorious problem of choice. Scientific discoveries of the last two decades have provided a wide variety of hormonal agents, with curative and preventive effects on the female body. However, there are still unfortunate misconceptions about the use of hormonal contraceptives, which, in particular, include, for example, the following: “If one type of COC (COC – combined oral contraceptives)” did not fit, then others will not suit me ” ; “Rather than taking hormonal pills every day, it’s better to use emergency contraceptive pills once a month,” etc.
The sexual life of a modern woman begins quite early. According to a number of statistics, about 83% of girls begin sexual activity at the age of 15 years. The sexually active age is considered to be between 15 and 19 years of age. At the same time, by the age of 18, 25% of sexually active girls manage to change at least three sexual partners. In the future, there is a significant sexual activity of a woman throughout her life. Occasionally protected from possible infection with STIs – sexually transmitted infections, only 69-70% and about 21% do not use contraceptives at all. Only every fourth sexually active woman is regularly protected from undesired pregnancy. At the same time, 95% of women do not consider abortion a safe procedure! Almost every woman knows that abortion is always a drastic change in hormonal levels, it is a colossal hormonal stress for a woman’s body.
Modern interdisciplinary training of doctors in gynecological clinics, professionally versed in the issues of dyshormonal diseases and their prevention, as well as the rational use of hormonal drugs, including COCs, can create a valuable therapeutic effect on a significant range of gynecological disorders.
It is important not to postpone your visit to the gynecological clinic and choose the right drug together with a specialist. The timeliness of your visit will help keep you sexually active and enjoying life!