Prevalence and Self-Management of Female Sexual Dysfunction among Women in Six Regions of Ghana: A Cross- Sectional Study
Background: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is widespread and a relevant health condition among women. Few women seek medical care, yet, the patronage of female sex-enhancing agents from the pharmacies, chemical and herbal shops have increased in recent times. The study sought to determine the prevalence and self-management of FSD among Ghanaian women. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted using structured questionnaires to elicit descriptive accounts of sexual experiences, help-seeking behaviours and measures taken to manage the sexual problems. Two hundred and seven (207) sexually active women aged 18 years and above were interviewed from six out of the ten regions in Ghana. Results: The majorities of the respondents was married (53.1%), had tertiary education (74.4%) and were within the ages of 18-29 (52.4%). Of all the respondents, 44.3% were not aware of FSD. The overall prevalence of FSD was 45.6%. The most prevalent sexual problems were pain during sex (72.9%), lubrication difficulties (72.3%), arousal disorder (70.3%), desire disorder (54.2%) and sexual dissatisfaction (27.1%). Only 22.5% of the respondents with FSD sought formal medical help. The reasons for not seeking formal help included the perception that FSD was normal (50.0%), personal embarrassment (19.2%) and time constraints (15.4%). About 57% of the respondents had self-managed at least one sexual problem. Counselling (31.2%), use of vaginal lubricants (24.1%), and sex and relationship strategies (23.4%) were the most cited options for managing FSD. Overall, 85.0% of women perceived the management options were effective. Only 1% of the respondents experienced side effects (vaginal itching) when vaginal lubricants and vaginal herbal preparations were employed. Conclusion: Women in Ghana experience female sexual dysfunction making it a health concern requiring recognition and intervention.