Depression was associated with all the measures of sexual function, sexual distress, general stress and relationship health. In addition, sexual distress not only increased with depression, but also with problems in sexual function. Those who experienced good relationship health had fewer sexual function problems, but those who had negative relationship had greater depression and general stress.
There are relatively few studies that show the impact of stress on a woman's sexual function although the complicated relationship between sexual function and stress has been seen in mice. However, it seems likely that stress must impact negatively on the female sexual experience. In a recent survey of 1000 adults, stress was ranked as the number one detractor from sexual enjoyment (26%) above other potential detractors such as children, work and boredom.
General stress did not correlate with any of the Female Sexual Function Index sub-scores. This may be further evidence that women may experience general stress differently than sexual stress. Orgasm also proved to be an interesting case, correlating only with depression. As well, it was the only category unaffected the state of the relationship -evidence that it may be a somewhat unique aspect of female sexual function. Women did not appear to be experiencing as much distress over orgasm complaints, suggesting that perhaps this aspect of the sexual experience is seen as less central than others.
Women who reported low levels of desire did not seem to be distressed by this - it is the classic picture of the patient whose low libido is not a problem for her, but is a problem for her partner. Arousal, an aspect of sexual function that incorporates both physical and emotional factors, correlated with all quality of life measures except for general stress.
Ways to Overcome Depression
To Overcome Depression we can control our thoughts and feelings much more than most people realize. With enough work and effort, you can change habitual thoughts and feelings. First, however, if you are on any medicines, check with your doctor to see if a medicine may be causing your depression. A surprising number of medicines can do this, including many tranquilizers or sleeping pills, many high blood pressure medicines, hormones such as oral contraceptives, some anti-inflammatory or anti-infection drugs, some ulcer medicines, etc. Changing your prescribed medications may be all you need to eliminate depression.
There are ways to help manage the sexual side effects associated with many antidepressant medicines without compromising treatment. These include switching to drugs that have less effect on sexual function. Some newer antidepressant medicines—such as Survector® (not available in the United States), Wellbutrin®, Remeron®, and Serzone®—cause fewer or no sexual side effects.
To better cope with the debilitating effects of depression, as well as the sexual side effects of treatment, you should be open and honest with your doctor and your sexual partner. Most people choose to continue treatment once they realize that the sexual problems they are experiencing are associated with the medicines and can be overcome.
For the fastest, most effective treatment of severe depression, find a psychiatrist who will use the dexamethasone suppression test (DST), the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test, and the MHPG urine test. In both the DST and TRH stimulation test, the psychiatrist administers a hormone and monitors your body's response with blood tests. Using these tests finds imbalances and predicts the effectiveness of antidepressants. The MHPG urine test helps in choosing among antidepressants. The tricyclic dose-prediction test, involving a test dose of antidepressant and a blood test 24 hours later, predicts therapeutic dose, minimizing dose changes and side effects.
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