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The problem of sexual dysfunction in cardiovascular disease has received attention in both professional and lay literature, particularly for men. There is only beginning awareness of the problem of sexual dysfunction in women in general and for those with cardiovascular disease. This evidence-based review focuses on the problem of sexual dysfunction in women in the general population compared with those women with cardiovascular disease. The underlying mechanisms of female sexual dysfunction are addressed, along with what is known about female sexual dysfunction in those with coronary artery disease, hypertension, and heart failure. The assessment and management of female sexual dysfunction in the presence of cardiovascular disease are addressed, although the strategies for management are controversial and evidence is lacking in some cases. Nurses can play a key role in initiating discussion with women related to sexual dysfunction and assisting them in finding appropriate resources and treatment.
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