5 Unique Sexual Health Issues Women Must Be Aware of & How To Prevent Them - Famasi Africa

Sexual health problems can lead to other medical conditions, such as depression and anxiety. But getting help early can help you manage your symptoms and prevent any long-term effects from developing.

woman laying on bed
sexual health issues can affect your sexual well-being, abilities, and operations

Having regular and healthy sex can help improve your sexual health. You might find that you have a keen interest in sexuality.  This is because it's a part of you being human.

However, certain sexual health issues can affect your sexual wellbeing, sexual abilities, and sexual operations.

These sexual health problems can lead to other medical conditions, such as depression and anxiety. But getting help early can help you manage your symptoms and prevent any long-term effects from developing.

In this article, you’ll find information that’ll help you better understand sexual health issues. You’ll also find symptoms to look out for, how to treat these conditions and things you can do to prevent them from happening.

Click here to understand the basics of sexual health
Vaginal drynesss
Photo by charlesdeluvio / Unsplash

Vaginal dryness/Vaginal atrophy

Imagine having a new vehicle with a perfectly working engine. Over the first few years, you’ll find that you enjoy a seamless transition and flow. You can move from one place to another without worries.

But as you keep using the vehicle, the engine wears out. You begin to worry about the engine oil getting dry and similar issues.

This can be likened to your body. As you age, you find that the lubrication needed for sex isn't as forthcoming as it used to be.

This low production of lubricant is mostly a result of loss of estrogen, your sex hormone. When your hormone level is low, it results in the thinning of the tissues in your vagina. Thereby causing low lubrication.

Causes of vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness can be caused by:

  • Hormonal changes: Changes in your hormones can affect your body's ability to produce adequate amounts of natural lubrication. The most common cause of vaginal dryness is menopause. A sudden drop in estrogen levels during menopause can cause vaginal dryness and irritation. Other hormonal changes that can lead to vaginal dryness include breastfeeding and pregnancy.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause a decrease in vaginal lubrication, including some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and birth control pills containing progestin only (POPs). If you are taking any medication, and you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, consult your doctor about alternatives.
  • Surgery: Loss of estrogen due to surgical removal of the ovaries or uterus can also contribute to decreased vaginal lubrication and irritation.
  • Age: As you age, your body produces less estrogen (a hormone that helps keep women's sex organs healthy), which may contribute to vaginal dryness.

Symptoms of vaginal dryness

  • A decrease in lubrication during sex or other types of physical activity
  • Decreased sensation in the genital area
  • Irritation or burning after intercourse or sexual stimulation

If you're having any of these symptoms or discomfort around your vagina, see your doctor for an exam and evaluation.

Treatment of vaginal dryness

There are several things you can do to treat vaginal dryness. They include:

  1. Use over-the-counter lubricants or moisturizers: Water-based lubricants are a good choice if you have vaginal dryness. They can be found in most drugstores. Apply the lubricant to your vaginal area before sex.
  2. Use a prescribed vaginal cream, tablet, or ring: These products contain estrogen and can help increase vaginal lubrication.
  3. Try home remedies: Some women find relief from vaginal dryness with home remedies such as:
  • Using yogurt and water mixture as a natural lubricant during sex. While some women have enjoyed using this method, scientists are yet to confirm this claim.
  • Using olive oil, baby oil, or other vegetable oil. Apply it to the vulva for 10 minutes before sex. Make sure to wipe off any excess oil before having sex.
Low sexual desire
Photo by M. / Unsplash

Low sexual desire

Imagine a situation when you want to have sex, but you often don’t have the urge or interest in doing so? That’s exactly what low sexual desire is.

It can also be called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).

It's not uncommon for your sex drive to fluctuate. But if you persistently experience low drive, it can cause you distress and disrupt your relationship.

If you’re experiencing this condition, you’re not alone. About 40% (i.e., 1 in every 3 women) experience some form of low libido at some point in their lives. This shows that it's a prevalent issue among women.

Causes of low sexual desire

A variety of factors, which can be physical, psychological, or social, can cause low sex drive.

Physical causes include:

  • Hormonal imbalances or changes
  • Anemia (Low levels of iron in the blood)
  • Kidney disease
  • Certain medications (such as antidepressants)
  • Stress
  • Thyroid problems (The gland handles energy usage by cells in the body)

Psychological causes include:

  • Depression: Depression can affect your sexual desire by making you feel exhausted, sad, or anxious.
  • Anxiety disorders: Disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can affect your desire for sex.
  • Self-esteem problem: If you don’t feel comfortable in your body or have past trauma, you might find yourself fighting the urge to have sex.

Social causes include:

  • Relationship problem: If you're unhappy with your relationship, it may affect your overall mood and how much you want to have sex. It can also lead to lack of communication.

Treatment for low sex drive

Here are a few treatment options you can use to treat low sexual drive:

  1. Medication
  2. Hormone therapies
  3. Sex education/therapy
Vaginismus doesn't allow penetration
Photo by Erwan Hesry / Unsplash


Using the car illustration from earlier. Now, imagine you’re getting ready for a trip (sex). Your car is fully fuelled and ready for action. But every time your travel buddy (partner) decides to get in the vehicle, the vehicle locks itself. Denying your buddy entry.

This condition is called Vaginismus. It’s when the muscles of your vagina tighten against your will, so your partner doesn’t penetrate. It makes sexual intercourse painful or impossible.

There are two types of vaginismus: primary and secondary.

If you can’t enjoy a pain-free penetration, then you have primary vaginismus. However, the penetration doesn’t have to be a penis, it can be a finger, a sex toy, or a tampon.

While for secondary vaginismus, you’d have previously experienced penetration, but you now find it difficult to do so.

Causes of Vaginismus

You can experience vaginismus at any age. And it can either be temporary or permanent.

While the causes of vaginismus are not fully understood, they’re thought to be a combination of physical and psychological factors. These factors can include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Surgery
  • Sexual abuse

Treatment of Vaginismus

You’re experiencing vaginismus, mostly due to fear or anxiety about sexual activity. Hence, most treatment options revolve around training your body to feel relaxed or to avoid this fear totally.

Treatment options include:

  1. Behavioral therapy
  2. Relaxation techniques
  3. Physical therapy
Vaginosis is when there's an odor in the vagina
Vaginosis occurs when there's an odor in the vagina


In this situation, your car is beginning to emit some strange smell, which can be worrisome.

When you observe that there’s an odor in your vagina, whether mild or strong, you may be experiencing vaginosis.

Vaginosis is a bacterial infection that can cause itching, burning, and discharge from your vagina. It may be transmitted by sexual means or can occur independently.

Causes of Vaginosis

The exact cause of vaginosis is unknown, but you can contract it due to an overgrowth of bacteria in your vagina. This can happen when the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in your vagina is disturbed.

The most common types of vaginosis are bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomoniasis.

Symptoms of Vaginosis

The most common symptom of vaginosis is a fishy odor coming from the vagina.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Painful urination
  • Itching around the vagina or vulva
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Discharge that smells fishy
  • Pain during intercourse

Treatment for Vaginosis

You can treat this condition with over-the-counter products or prescription medications.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.

You'll experience this condition when bacteria move from your vagina or cervix up through your uterus and into the pelvis. It’s a serious complication of some sexually transmitted infections (e.g. Gonorrhea, Chlamydia).

PID can damage your reproductive organs and cause scarring. It can lead to infertility and chronic pain. It can also damage the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other pelvic structures.

Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease

PID often has no symptoms, but when they do, they can include:

  • Fever
  • Vaginal discharge that looks abnormal — red or greenish yellow, sometimes with a bad smell
  • Abdominal pain that gets worse when you move or walk around
  • Pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) or urination
  • Menstrual irregularities, such as heavy periods and bleeding between periods
  • Painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)

Treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease

You can treat PID with antibiotics.

To prevent PID, it is important to practice safer sex (using condoms every time you have sex) and get tested and treated for STIs.

Infertility occurs when you experience trouble conceiving


Imagine fuelling your car steadily, but it keeps refusing to start, no matter how hard you ignite it.

That’s exactly what infertility means. You keep having steady unprotected sex, but you can’t seem to have a child.

The World Health Organization reports that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals have infertility issues globally.

Causes of infertility

A variety of factors can cause infertility, including:

  • Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances can prevent ovulation or make it difficult for your eggs to be fertilized. Common hormonal imbalances include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and primary ovarian insufficiency (POI).
  • Age: Age is a major factor in fertility. If you’re above 35, you have a decreased chance of conceiving and a higher risk of miscarrying. The older you are, the more likely you’re to have an underlying health condition that can cause infertility.
  • Stress: Stress can impact the body’s hormones and interfere with ovulation. If you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress levels.
  • Weight: Being overweight or obese can lead to hormonal imbalances and fertility problems. Losing weight may improve your chances of conceiving.
  • Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can damage the reproductive system and make it difficult to conceive. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your fertility.

Treatment for infertility

The most effective treatment you can undergo will depend on the underlying cause of your infertility.

If you're struggling with infertility, there are a few treatment options available for you. Some include:

  1. Medication: You can use medication to treat hormonal imbalances or underlying health conditions causing your infertility. Common fertility drugs include clomiphene citrate, gonadotropins, and metformin.
  2. Surgery: Surgery can be used to remove blockages that are preventing you from getting pregnant or used to correct anatomical problems.
  3. Assisted reproductive technology (ART): This involves using medical procedures to fertilize the egg outside the body. The most common type of ART is in vitro fertilization (IVF).
  4. Lifestyle changes: You can undergo some lifestyle changes to increase your chances of conceiving. Changes like losing weight or quitting smoking.

If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, it’s important to see a fertility specialist. They can help you understand the cause of your infertility and recommend the best treatment option for you.

How can you protect yourself from sexual health problems?

Abstaining from sexual activity is the only surefire way to prevent any and all STDs/STIs.

But if you choose to engage in sexual activity, here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:

  1. Use condoms consistently and correctly: This will help reduce your risk of contracting or spreading STDs/STIs. They help prevent semen and vaginal secretions from getting into your reproductive organs, thereby reducing the risk of infection. Condoms also provide protection against some STIs that can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, such as genital herpes and HPV.
  2. Get tested regularly for STDs/STIs: If you often get tested, you can catch any infections early and get treatment if necessary. You might not know that you have an STI because you’re not experiencing any symptoms. Some symptoms are unnoticeable until later stages, when the infections are harder to treat.
  3. Limiting your number of sexual partners: The more partners you have, the greater your risk of contracting an STI. Especially if you engage in risky behaviors like having unprotected sex or having multiple partners at the same time.
  4. Avoid high-risk behaviors such as sharing needles or having unprotected sex.
  5. Staying in control over your own body by avoiding alcohol and drugs before or during sex (or anytime): Using substances can impair your judgment, which could lead to risky behavior such as unprotected sex.
Click here to know important sexual health tests you must take


For each sexual health problem, there is a solution!

Don't wait until the problem has already cropped up. Educate yourself on sexual health issues, how to avoid them, and how to deal with them should they arise.

With this knowledge, you can make your own educated decisions regarding your personal sexual health.

You can also get your sexual health package here, so you can always get the pleasure you deserve.