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Complication of Female Sexual Dysfunction in Elderly (Women)


Low self- esteem

This issue will rise when they started to feel inadequate and start to blame themselves for not being sexually responsive. This might be due to their exposure with undesired sexual experience due to pain during sexual intercourse.

Other factors which may be related to this issue are:

Physical condition

  • Vulva atrophy
  • Vulval atrophy is attributed to the loss of collagen, adipose tissues and decrease of secretions and is associated with reducing sexual arousal which later resulted in sexual avoidance. This may impact sexual frequency and can negatively impact the relationship.

    Figure 1: Impact of vaginal atrophy on sexual function (Source: www.obgmanagement.com/…life…sexuality/b7b280ac42dcb087ca16b2..)

  • Urogenital atrophy is another factor that can lead to unwanted experience for women due to urinary symptoms such as increased frequency and urgency of urination, painful urination, and increase the incidence of urinary tract infection. All these symptoms have direct implication towards the quality of life and sexuality.


This is the most common complication that women suffer and it depends on various factors such as embarrassment, culture, and religious perceptions.

Strain in the relationship with spouse contributes to depression especially when there are thoughts that the spouse will have a new relationship with another woman. Other factors that can cause depression among women with sexual dysfunction include:

    • Lifestyle, for example, inadequate rest.
    • Financial problem
    • Decrease sexual interest.
    • Drifting apart


Inability to maintain relationship / body image will lead to significant distress, limitations in daily functioning, and poorer quality of life.

Trauma to Vagina

This complication is due to vaginal dryness which can lead to vaginal irritation. Women will have pain during sexual intercourse which resulted in low sexual desire, decrease or discontinuation of sexual activity and finally sexual avoidance.

Vaginal wall changes can lead to degradation of the vaginal surface, making it vulnerable to trauma, ulcerations, tears, and bleeding even on minor contact. Pain and discomfort, especially during intercourse, combined with the physiological changes may lead to sexual dysfunction, vaginal contraction, and rigidity. All these problems and undesirable symptoms can contribute women to avoid sex and reduce the quality of life.

Sexual Transmitted Disease

Family/ Partner

Inadequate counselling on how to handle sexual dysfunction to both partners may lead to conflict and break up especially when they already have a poor relationship.


  1. Hobnet, R.H., & Chop, W. (2013) Gerontology for the health care professional ( 2nd Ed). Jones And Bartlett .
  2. Impact of vaginal atrophy on sexual function  “http://www.obgmanagement.com/…life…sexuality/b7b280ac42dcb087ca16b”>www.obgmanagement.com/…lifesexuality/b7b280ac42dcb087ca16b


Last Reviewed : 18 July 2016
Writer : Dr. Juriati bt. Ismail
Accreditor : Dr. Radziah binti Abdul Rashid