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Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome

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Persistent sexual arousal syndrome results in a spontaneous and persistent genital arousal, with or without orgasm or genital engorgement, unrelated to any feelings of sexual desire. In particular, it is not related to hypersexuality, sometimes known as nymphomania or satyriasis. In addition to being very rare the condition is also frequently unreported by sufferers who may consider it shameful or embarrassing. It has only recently been reported and characterized as a distinct syndrome in medical literature.

Physical arousal caused by this syndrome can be very intense and persist for extended periods, days or weeks at a time. Orgasm can sometimes provide temporary relief, but within hours the symptoms return. The symptoms can be debilitating, preventing concentration on mundane tasks. Some situations, such as riding in an automobile, can aggravate the syndrome unbearably.

Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome can have a variety of causes. Some drugs such as trazodone may cause it as a side effect, in which case discontinuing the medication may give relief. On the other hand, the condition can sometimes start only after the discontinuation of SSRIs. In some recorded cases, the syndrome was caused by a pelvic arterial-venous malformation with arterial branches to the penis and clitoris; surgical treatment was effective in this case. In other cases where the cause is unknown or less easily treatable, the symptoms can sometimes be reduced by the use of antidepressants, antiandrogenic agents and anaesthetising gels. Psychological counselling with cognitive reframing of the arousal as a healthy response may also be used.

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