I'll have what she's having," is the most memorable line from "When Harry Met Sally." Wouldn't it be great if you could order passion off a restaurant menu like Rob Reiner's mom hoped to do?
Well, guys can order from a menu of Food and Drug Administration-approved erectile dysfunction meds and testosterone products. But so far there aren't any meds approved for women who have delayed, absent or reduced intensity of orgasm. That's why the latest announcement of positive results from a Phase II trial of nasal testosterone gel for gals made headlines. (It's used whenever a woman anticipates having sex - just like men's drugs.)
Unfortunately, on closer inspection the nasal T-gel for women seems only marginally helpful: During the 84-day trial, nonorgasmic women using it reported an average of 2.3 orgasms (over 14 sexual encounters), compared to 1.7 for the placebo group. Plus: Long-term use of similar products by men can trigger serious side effects like heart attacks.
A women's orgasm dysfunction (OD) may be caused by restricted blood flow, a thyroid condition or urinary incontinence. Medications such as antidepressants also can inhibit sexual response, as can hormone shifts from breast-feeding and menopause. Emotional roadblocks include depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts and past sexual trauma.
If you have OD, talk with your doctor. You may need to change or start medications, use topical hormones to ease vaginal dryness or get therapy to allow safe expression of sexual feelings.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.