Sexual dysfunction can have a significant and negative impact on an individual’s well-being and quality of life. Men and women can experience sexual dysfunction in different ways, but there may be health or lifestyle-related causes to consider. Understanding how and why sexual dysfunction occurs can help you and your doctor determine the best treatment. Medicare coverage may be available for some of the treatment options your doctor prescribes.

Defining Sexual Dysfunction for Men and Women

When applying the broadest definition possible, sexual dysfunction refers to any circumstances or conditions that negatively impact a person’s sexual response cycle. This definition applies to both men and women, including experiences as an individual or with a partner.

The Mayo Clinic notes that dysfunction can manifest through separate or combined emotional, psychological or physical symptoms. Identifying where dysfunction occurs within the sexual response cycle is necessary for appropriate treatment. As uncomfortable as it may be to discuss such personal matters, talk with your doctor if you experience a chronic lack of desire or inability to sense arousal, achieve climax, or feel satisfaction, or if you experience pain at any point in this process.

Causes and Treatments for Sexual Dysfunction in Men

Men may experience symptoms of sexual dysfunction due to certain physical or psychological conditions that may include:

  • Medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis and high cholesterol or blood pressure.
  • Substance abuse, including excessive alcohol or tobacco consumption, as well as prescription or illegal drug use.
  • Psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety or stress brought on by extreme or personal circumstances that negatively impact a man’s sense of well-being.

Medications used to treat many medical conditions or surgeries that involve the prostate or spinal cord may also contribute to sexual or erectile dysfunction in men. Your doctor should know your full medical history when evaluating possible treatment options.

Treating male sexual dysfunction may be done through a combination of psychological therapy, prescription drugs, surgery or certain kinds of medical equipment, like a penile pump. Corrective surgery involves the insertion of implants that may be inflatable or bendable to help control erections. Surgery is only advised after all other methods of treatment have failed to produce satisfactory results.

Causes and Treatments for Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Women may experience symptoms of sexual dysfunction due to certain physical or psychological conditions that may include:

  • Medical conditions, such as hormonal changes that lower estrogen levels in the body, as well as cardiovascular disease, bladder infections, kidney failure, certain cancers, multiple sclerosis or gynecological conditions.
  • Substance abuse, and as with male symptoms, this can include alcohol and tobacco habits and the use of prescription or illegal drugs.
  • Psychological conditions, which can include anxiety and depression, as well as stress experienced during extreme or personal circumstances that have a negative impact on a woman’s sense of wellbeing.

Medications may impact a woman’s sexual response cycle, too, and a list that includes dosage and frequency should be noted in any discussion with your doctor. Discuss your medical history and any lifestyle changes that may have occurred at the time you experienced or suspected sexual dysfunction.

Treatment for female sexual dysfunction can involve psychological therapy or prescription drugs, particularly if the dysfunction is related to hormonal imbalance or change. Surgical intervention is very rarely advised unless an underlying medical condition is the cause and requires treatment.

Medicare Coverage for Sexual Dysfunction Treatment

Medicare recipients can get help paying for medications prescribed by a physician through Medicare Part D. Each Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage may have its own formulary, or list of covered drugs, and some medications for erectile dysfunction or hormone therapy may be excluded from coverage. If sexual dysfunction is a symptom of a separate medical condition that requires medication for treatment, those medications may be covered under Medicare Part D or your Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Part B may also cover certain outpatient care services, such as psychological therapy or relevant surgeries to treat the underlying causes of sexual dysfunction. While Medicare Part B does not cover penile pumps, it may provide coverage for penile implant surgery if all other methods of treatment have failed to achieve effective results. Recipients are responsible for any share of cost through copayments, coinsurance and deductibles as part of their Medicare coverage plan.

Check with your Medicare provider for details on eligible drugs and services and discuss with your doctor the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

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