Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) is a condition that causes feelings of intense genital arousal in females. The condition may or may not cause genital engorgement and orgasm. PGAD, first recognized in 2001, is not a diagnosed medical condition like nymphomania or satyriasis.
Symptoms of PGAD
The symptoms of the disorder can include intense physical arousal bordering on pain. Arousal may come in waves that last for several weeks at a time with intermittent relief after orgasm. Movement and vibrations from riding in a vehicle can cause symptoms to flare. Symptoms have also been associated with urination or bowel movements in some patients.
PGAD is extremely rare and potentially underreported. Some doctors believe the disorder may be associated with restless leg syndrome.
Causes of PGAD
Due to the rarity of the condition, no definitive cause has been established. Theories suggest sensory nerve damage or hormone replacement therapy may cause symptoms. Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder may also be associated with certain drug therapies like trazodone may be associated with symptoms similar to those associated with PGAD, though the symptoms are more likely caused by priapism not PGAD. Some patients experience symptoms after discontinuing use of SSRIs; a drug typically prescribed for depression and other mental conditions.
Treatment of PGAD
Without a definitive cause of the condition, treatment is not cut and dry. Some patients have been treated with antidepressants, regional nerve blocks and anesthetic gels with varying degrees of success.
Holding an ice pack on the genitals may reduce symptoms, but symptoms tend to come back as soon as the skin warms again when the ice is removed.
Prognosis and Outcome of PGAD
PGAD is a condition doctors are still trying to better understand. At this point, there is no known cure for the condition, unless symptoms are associated with drug therapy and that therapy is halted. With regular treatment, some patients experience reduced symptoms or shorter outbreaks. Patients suffering from the disorder claim antidepressants and antianxiety medications reduce the tension associated with constant arousal, but they don’t relieve the arousal.
PGAD is not a sexual disorder. Patients may need to seek psychotherapy to deal with pain associated with orgasm. Orgasm pain can have a detrimental effect on sexual and emotional relationships. Though men have reported the condition, it tends to be more prevalent in women. Women often have trouble deciding which medical professional to talk about when symptoms arise. Mental health professionals may be able to prescribe medications to reduce symptoms, but gynecologists are more versed on potential physical causes of the condition.