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Women and Sex.

More women than men suffer from sexual dysfunction.

Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) is described clinically as when a woman experiences distress due to problems with sexual desire, arousal, orgasm or pain. Low desire is the most common form of female sexual dysfunction.

Sprout’s area of focus is distressing low desire or Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). HSDD is defined as the lack of or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity that causes significant personal distress or interpersonal difficulty. Though the condition has been recognized and researched for years, there are still no FDA approved treatments options for women suffering with HSDD.


A number of potential causes and contributing factors to HSDD have been identified, indicative of a complex interaction of physiological, psychological, emotional and/or relationship components.

It is widely accepted that the brain plays a central role in female sexual function and desire. Current medical research suggests that neurotransmitters in the brain (particularly dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin) play an important role in modulating sexual desire. Consequently, sexual dysfunctions could occur when the balance of these neurotransmitters is disrupted. Diminished function of the dopamine system, which increases sexual desire and excitement, and the norepinephrine system, which affects arousal and orgasm, may lead to the inability to begin the sexual response cycle. An overactive serotonin system, which can decrease desire and delay orgasm, may also lead to inhibition of sexual response. If these neurotransmitter systems are not appropriately balanced, sexual dysfunction may result. Women with HSDD may have an imbalance in these systems, which may, in turn, affect the typical progression of the sexual response cycle and the ability to experience sexual desire. Pharmaceutical intervention into the biochemical component of sexual dysfunction shows promise but to date, no drugs are approved and marketed in the United States.

Diagnosis & Prevalence

The prevalence of female sexual dysfunction is significant. In 1999, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the National Health and Social Life Survey assessed sexual functioning among men and women in the U.S. The survey reported that 43% of women experienced some type of sexual dysfunction compared to 31% of men (Laumann, 1999). The most common complaint was low sexual desire. A multitude of scientific studies reaching similar conclusions have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Menopause and others over the last two decadesThe prevalence conclusions hold true not only across the decades but also across cultures.

If you look at prevalence of low desire with accompanying distress, or HSDD, that data shows 1 in 10 women are affected. A survey of 31,581 women over the age of 18 from 50,000 US households showing this data was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Shiffren, 2008).

Treatment of HSDD

Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for women suffering from HSDD. Sprout is dedicated to getting a first-in-class, first-in-disease treatment across the finish line for women. It’s what drives us.