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Acupuncture and Female Sexual Dysfunction

For some women, acupuncture might help alleviate sexual problems.

Originating in China, acupuncture is an ancient practice that aims to balance the energy in a person’s body. An acupuncturist does this by inserting thin needles through the skin. The needles may then be “manipulated.” This means the acupuncturist might move them, twirl them, or apply heat or electrical impulses to them.

In North America, acupuncture is used as an alternative or complimentary therapy for a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, pain, and insomnia.

In December 2012, researchers from the University of Nevada and Montana State University published a report on acupuncture for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction (FSD). The article appeared in the journal Medical Acupuncture.

FSD includes four types of sexual problems that affect women: hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), arousal disorder, orgasmic disorder, and sexual pain disorder.

Seventeen women with FSD participated in the study. Their ages ranged from 40 to 66. Each woman received four acupuncture treatments. Using specialized assessment tools, the researchers evaluated women’s sexual functioning before treatment began, before the final treatment, and three weeks after the last treatment.

Some women found that their symptoms, particularly desire and anxiety, had improved. However, the researchers noted that more research is needed to learn more about how acupuncture – and other treatments that don’t involve medication – might help women with FSD.

Acupuncture isn’t effective for everyone. If you are experiencing sexual problems, be sure to see your doctor first. He or she can help you decide which treatment options are right for you.

Print this article or view it as a PDF file here: Acupuncture and Female Sexual Dysfunction


Medical Acupuncture

Running, Alice, et al.

“Acupuncture and Female Sexual Dysfunction: A Time-Series Study of Symptom Relief”

(Abstract. December 2012)

Live Science

Wanjek, Christopher

“What is Acupuncture?”

(May 9, 2013)

Mayo Clinic


(January 25, 2012)