What is Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder?

If you’re aroused sexually without stimulation and desire then you might have a condition known as persistent genital arousal disorder. It’s usually experienced by women. The condition can cause discomfort and psychological effects, and affect day-to-day living.

Young lovers on the grass

Do your genitals keep getting aroused without stimulation or sexual desire? If so then you might have something called PGAD, which stands for “persistent genital arousal disorder.” This condition and its symptoms usually exist in women.  It’s quite common and natural for genitals to be aroused during sexual activity. On the other hand, if it keeps happening without any stimulation you should find out whether or not you have PGAD. A 2012 study showed that two-thirds of women with PGAD symptoms also had a type of cyst. So, it’s possible such lumps might be causing the symptoms. As always, it’s best to know the root cause of new health conditions.

One of the main issues about PGAD is it can cause physical and emotional problems like pain and stress. In fact, it can even make it tougher to complete your day-to-day tasks. Like other health conditions, it’s important to get a checkup if you think you might have PGAD. This will help you find out what could be causing the symptoms. In fact, people with PGAD often aren’t diagnosed because they’re embarrassed by the symptoms. Make sure that you know the symptoms, causes, and treatments of this condition. Getting diagnosed with PGAD can help to improve your sexual and everyday life.

What Is Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder?

Let’s start with the basics. PGAD is also known as PSAS, which stands for “persistent sexual arousal syndrome.” If you read about either of those conditions it’s the same one.

PGAD caused people to become aroused sexually when no stimulation or sexual activity exists. It causes symptoms like vaginal swelling or penis erections. Sometimes it causes constant orgasms.

The duration of PGAD symptoms can last from days to weeks. It can also interfere with your everyday life you’ll experience the symptoms even when you’re not sexually active. This explains why many people are embarrassed or ashamed about PGAD and often don’t even report it to their doctors. 

Women usually experience PGAD although sometimes men do as well. The condition among men is often known as “priapism.” The symptoms are similar since men have an erection for many hours or even longer and there’s no sexual arousal that causes the symptoms.

Make sure to know the signs of this condition. The general feeling is sexual arousal when no sexual stimulation takes place. Women might be aroused in the genital region including swelling in the vagina and clitoris. There also might be arousal in other body parts like the nipples.  In men, the symptoms can include erections that last many hours or pain within the penis.

PGAD can include other common symptoms including:

  • Red/flushed face and neck
  • Muscle spasms throughout the body
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain in genital areas
  • Shallow/fast breathing
  • Very high blood pressure/heart rate

If you experience one or more symptoms you should definitely get it checked out. Multiple or long-lasting symptoms increase the chance you have PGAD.

There’s a chance you don’t have this health condition. However, it’s better to be on the same side and get it checked out. A check-up and tests can help to determine the exact cause of your symptoms.

What Causes PGAD?

It’s also helpful to know the main causes of PGAD. It can be caused by a wide range of things. However, sometimes it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose the exact cause of your condition. Here are some of the main causes of this condition:

1. Mental Health

Sometimes mental health issues are linked to PGAD. They include ones like anxiety, depression obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and others.

It’s important to note that experts aren’t certain if these conditions actually cause PGAD. However, it’s common for both conditions to happen at the same time. So, if you have mental health issues you might also experience PGAD.

2. UTI

Men who have urinary tract infections (UTI) might also experience PGAD. UTI is caused by different factors like bacteria or viruses in the digestive system.

3. Nerves

A pinched or compressed nerve can cause sensations in the genital area. It’s believed this can cause PGAD symptoms.

Sometimes other related issues can cause signs. For example, sometimes it results from the clitoris staying swollen or erect for a long time, which can result in PGAD. Irregular blood flow in/out of the penis can also result in priapism among men. 

4. Medications/Therapies/Surgery

Some cases have linked PGAD symptoms to different medications and treatments. For example, some cases of PGAD resulted when women stopped taking anti-depression meds called SSRIs. Strokes that happen after stopping therapies for conditions like high cholesterol might cause this condition.

There was even a case when a woman experienced PGAD after brain surgery. The surgery was done to fix problems related to the brain’s blood vessels. 

A physician can help sort things out to determine the cause of your PGAD symptoms. It might be the result of a small or major health condition. Always be on the safe side and get a checkup if you experience these symptoms and aren’t sure what’s causing them.

PGAD Diagnosis/Treatments

1. Diagnosis

After contacting your doctor about possible PGAD you’ll get various types of tests. This includes a physical exam and evaluation about things like conditions you have, meds you’re taking, and how long you’ve had PGAD. This will likely include an exam of the genital area.

You also might be required to get some nerve and blood tests. Neurological tests can check if you’ve experienced nerve damage. You also might be tested to measure how much blood flow goes to your genitals before/during/after you’ve experienced sexual arousal.

A doctor will have 1+ of these tests run to find out whether or not PGAD is causing your symptoms.

2. Medications/Therapies

Various types of meds and therapies are available for PGAD. This includes meds to treat conditions like OCD, depression, and panic attacks. The doctor might also prescribe a type of drug that numbs certain body parts.

These medications can be effective. However, keep in mind these aren’t over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The strong chemicals could cause side-effects.

You should also inform your physician of any prescription/OTC medicines you’re taking, as well as herbal supplements. There’s a chance 1+ of them could cause a negative reaction with PGAD meds. That situation could make a bad situation worse so it’s definitely something to avoid. 

Sometimes counseling and therapy are used to reduce PGAD symptoms. This can help when you’re dealing with conditions like depression or anxiety. You might be experiencing feelings related to problems in your personal life like relationships.

One kind of therapy called CBT helps to deal with negative emotions you’re experiencing. This helps you learn to share and control any negative emotions you have.

These therapies can help to deal with situations that might be causing PGAD symptoms. It can help to calm your body and mind. That, in turn, can help you start persistent genital arousal disorder.

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