Restless genital syndrome (RGS) is a condition which mainly affects women (though also occasionally in men) that is characterized by an unpleasant sensation involving the genital area and pelvis. A woman with RGS experiences sudden, continuous and uncontrolled arousal in her genital region but she does not have a desire or fantasy for sex. RGS has been defined as a spontaneous genital arousal like throbbing or pulsating that occurs in the absence of sexual interest and desire. Previously, it was named persistent sexual arousal syndrome (PSAS) or persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD).

With RGS the woman may experience an orgasm or a sensation similar to that of an orgasmic episode. The orgasm does not provide her with relief and RGS may lead the woman to masturbate or to have intercourse in order to get relief from the feeling. Symptoms in persons with RGS tend to be worse when sitting or lying down, particularly in the evening, and can be made better by standing and walking. 

Causes of Restless Genital Syndrome (RGS)

Many causes of RGS have been proposed including:

  • Pudendal nerve or dorsal nerve of the clitoris damage
  • Hormonal changes during menstruation
  • Later pregnancy stages
  • Women on hormone therapy
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Genital vasocongestion
  • Reduced iron levels in the central nervous system;
  • In 40%-60%, a family history of RGS can be found, so genetics may play an important role in these disorders. 

In one study, over 1/2 of patients with RGS had symptoms of genital pain, depression, and interstitial cystitis. 

Treatment of Restless Genital Syndrome

No clear treatment has been found yet for restless genital syndrome. Anti anxiety drugs may help to reduce the intensity of the symptoms, though it is difficult to completely cure the problem.