Sign your support to the Women’s Initiative in Sexual Health
Like most doctors, I go to a lot of medical conferences. It’s a great opportunity to meet with colleagues and learn about the latest research. But of all the conferences I attend, none even come close to ISSWSH, the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. I can guarantee you that this is the only medical conference that has lectures on orgasmic headaches, how to repair a clitoris that gets inadvertently ripped off, and the best position for someone with severe arthritis to have comfortable oral sex. I even presented my own research on the percentage of gynecologists that would use vaginal estrogen if they had breast cancer (95%). Instead of booths with the latest anti-hypertensive drugs, exhibits highlight the best silicone lubricant and the latest sex toys.
While it is great fun, the conference is an opportunity for health professionals to get serious medical information with experts from all over the world presenting their papers and research.
But this year, something was highlighted that was unique. Something that women around the world have been wishing for and, in fact, should be demanding: A solution for female sexual dysfunction. During the discussion of the new oral pill to alleviate vaginal dryness, there was additional discussion surrounding the fact that it has proven very challenging for a women’s sexual health drug to get FDA approval. Even if someone does discover the perfect pill that will keep women lubricated, interested, and highly orgasmic, if history is any indicator, the chance that the FDA will approve that pill before our daughters are grandmothers, is unlikely.
Contrast that to the ease with which drugs get approved for men’s sexual health:
There are 15 drugs that are FDA approved to treat sexual issues in men.
There are only 5 drugs that are FDA approved to treat vaginal dryness.
There are 0 drugs that are FDA approved to treat lack of libido in women.
It’s hard to make an argument that the FDA is just being careful when only 3,000 men were in the trial to get Viagra approved. Libido drugs such as flibanserin and testosterone were rejected despite the fact that 11,0000 women were in the trial for flibanserin, and 10,000 women were in trials for testosterone, both with strong safety and efficacy data.
I hope you are as angry as I am that there is so little attention paid to this situation in spite of the fact that 43% of women suffer from some sort of sexual dysfunction.
It’s time to channel that anger into action.
An important initiative is underway called WISH (Women’s Initiative in Sexual Health). WISH is working to raise public awareness about the importance of female sexual health, and the WISH Petition is being circulated to let government agencies know that women deserve and need the same kind of therapies, research, and options that the men have always had. Leading women’s sexual health experts want to get a million signatures on a petition to let the FDA know that there should be as much emphasis on women’s sexual health therapies as the guys have had for years.