For years men have been able to receive sexual stimulation through the use of Viagra®. When it was introduced in the late 1990s, it successfully treated erectile dysfunction, and since then, has been earning its company Pfizer just under $2 billion in annual sales.
There are currently 24 FDA-approved medications for sexual dysfunction on the market. However, not a single one is for women, and the lack of options have left many dissatisfied between the sheets. In fact, according to a 1999 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 50 million women fail to have fulfilling sex. A 2011 study published by the School of Psychology and University of Central Lancashire found 80 percent of women faked orgasms during intercourse and that orgasm was generally achieved by the woman herself and not by her companion.
Registered Nurse Lisa Stern of WomensDay.com also supported claims that women struggle in bed just as much as men do, yet little has been done to address the topic.
“Female sexual dysfunction (FSD), which encompasses the inability to orgasm, is very common — as high as 43 percent, according to some surveys — and has been a topic of much debate and medical investigation lately,” said Stern. “For some women, topical testosterone therapies or some oral medications can be helpful, but few medical treatments have solid evidence behind them.”
That, however, could be changing because of a recently developed procedure known as the PRP shot. It’s not only intended to help a woman achieve sexual satisfaction in the bedroom, but is also deemed safer than some of the alternatives.
One of those alternatives, dubbed female Viagra®, is a product known as flibanserin, brand name Addyi®. With Congressional support, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved it this past May by a vote of 18-6 for commercial distribution after originally rejecting it because they believed it posed health risks.
“The fundamental question,” Congress had posed, was “whether these observed placebo-corrected treatment effects outweigh the risk associated with treatment.” When Addyi® was initially rejected, health officials believed they did not.
Some of the concerns with flibanserin included low blood pressure, drowsiness, dizziness, fainting and concussions. Women also had to take the pill every day whereas Viagra® for men only had to be taken when needed.
So, enter the PRP shot, an alternative, safer, non-prescription method to achieve the same sexual pleasure of prescription medicines like Addyi®.
In 2011 Wood began clinical trials on the PRP shot and concluded the procedure worked on 85 percent of the 81 women who had used it. A single mother from California said, “I think [the PRP shot] is a home run that we all need.” Another loved the alternative therapy, saying, “After I got the shot and I had sex for the first time, I was amazed at how my body felt and how wonderful I felt mentally.”
The procedure works by using the patient’s own blood to stimulate vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation. A doctor administers a shot of the women’s platelets or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) directly into her vagina. These platelets encourage new cell growth, which makes the area where the shot was administered more sensitive. Improvements include better orgasms, libido and arousal.
There are side effects, however, that Wood warns patients about. People who are on anti-depressants or who have relationship issues should not take the drug. There could also be additional side effects that Woods has yet to discover, but will with additional testing.
Dr. Jenniffer Berman, a practicing urologist and expert in women’s sexual health, supports Wood’s efforts, but has some serious reservations about the PRP shot that more clinical tests could relieve. “Injecting growth factors into the genital tract of a woman has risks associated with it and the benefits have not been teased out.”
While some reservations still linger, the PRP shot’s arrival sparks newfound hope for the 50 million women in the U.S. who are sexually dissatisfied.