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What Causes Sexual Health Decline?

By EmpowHER
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More Videos from EmpowHER 30 videos in this series

Dr. Archelle Georgiou interviews Dr. John Willems about the many ways a woman's sexual well-being can be impacted by her overall health status.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
Welcome back. This is EmpowHER Live at the Women’s Conference 2010. I am Dr. Archelle Georgiou and I am joined here by Dr. John Willems who is a specialist in sexual health. Thank you for joining us Dr. Willems.

Dr. John Willems:
You are welcome Dr. Georgiou.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
In one of our earlier segments we talked about the fact that painful intercourse or vulvodynia occurs in about 12 to 15% of women, which is a huge number and much bigger than anyone ever really thinks is occurring. So, when we think about that many women having sexual issues, how does that affect the rest of their health because we know that sexual health affects your overall health?

Dr. John Willems:
Well the World Health Organization has defined health including sexual health. So it’s every part of becoming and being a fully functional human being.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
So what are some of the other conditions that may be addressed medically but affect your sexual health that people need to keep in mind?

Dr. John Willems:
Well, every time your physical health deteriorates almost certainly your sexual health will deteriorate in equal portion. The other thing that women need to be very careful about is understanding that although depression can affect your sexual health, treatment for depression can affect your sexual health.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
And what type, which of the treatments for depression that can really affect your sexual health and what do women need to know?

Dr. John Willems:
For example, many of the very useful antidepressants that are currently available decrease the ability to have orgasm.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
So how do women balance the challenge of being sexually healthy but being depressed? It’s like a catch22 because if you are depressed you don’t want to be sexually active anyway, so what do you do?

Dr. John Willems:
I think it’s achieving that balance. If you are finding that you are on a medication that’s having a particular sexual side effect then look for an alternative antidepressant with your physician.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
So in that same line of thinking of what do you do, what should women do to speak up and have this issue addressed so that they can have overall health in addition to their sexual health?

Dr. John Willems:
If you find that either yourself or your personal physician is having difficulties dealing with sexual issues then you can go online now a days. There is the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health or ISSWSH and that is www.isswsh.org.

Dr. Archelle Georgiou:
Well, thank you so much. I think that’s a great resource for women to have. It is very important for us to have sexual health, overall health and to be empowered to talk about it. This is Dr. Archelle Georgiou with EmpowHER Live at the 2010 Women’s Conference. Thanks for joining us.

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