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Persistent genital arousal disorder: a biopsychosocial framework

Jackowich, Robyn A. ORCID: and Pukall, Caroline F. 2020. Persistent genital arousal disorder: a biopsychosocial framework. Current Sexual Health Reports 12 (3) , pp. 127-135. 10.1007/s11930-020-00268-2

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Purpose of Review Persistent genital arousal disorder (also referred to as genitopelvic dysesthesia or PGAD/GD) is a distressing and largely underrecognized condition characterized by persistent, unwanted genital arousal (sensations, sensitivity, vasocongestion) in the absence of subjective/cognitive arousal and sexual desire. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent findings on biological and psychosocial factors in PGAD/GD as they pertain to the assessment and treatment of this condition. These findings will be considered within a biopsychosocial framework, for the purposes of considering next steps for clinical and research efforts. Recent Findings A small number of studies have recently examined potential biological aetiologies for PGAD/GD: pharmacological agents, spinal pathology and peripheral nerve involvement. Recent studies have also found that PGAD/GD is associated with a significant negative impact on psychosocial wellbeing and daily functioning as compared to symptom-free individuals. In addition, these results highlight cognitive/affective responses to symptoms (e.g. catastrophizing of symptoms) that may influence outcomes. However, biological and psychological research are rarely integrated in these studies, despite the interrelationship between these factors. Summary Although PGAD/GD was first described in the scientific literature almost two decades ago, most research on PGAD/GD is presented in the form of case studies. Prospective treatment trials that integrate biopsychosocial factors are needed in order to provide effective and efficient care to this population. This research would be facilitated by the development of a patient-reported outcome measure, as well as greater education/awareness among healthcare providers and the public about this distressing condition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1548-3584
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2023 12:02

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