Persistent genital arousal disorder is excessive unwanted unprovoked genital arousal.
Cause is unknown. Anxiety and hypervigilance for recurrence of pain episodes may perpetuate the syndrome. Symptoms have been thought to sometimes be manifestations of seizure disorders, but in published series, brain imaging and EEG have not found abnormalities.
Unwanted, intrusive, spontaneous genital arousal (eg, tingling, throbbing) occurs, but sexual interest or desire is absent; arousal is unrelieved by orgasms. The feelings persist for hours or days. Older women may be very embarrassed by the symptoms.
Treatment is unclear. Self-stimulation may provide relief but usually only temporarily. High-dose SSRI therapy has been reported effective, but data are few. Simple recognition of the existence of this disorder, with reassurance that it can spontaneously remit, may help some patients.
Last full review/revision January 2009 by Rosemary Basson, MD, FRCP(UK)
Content last modified June 2010