When sexual arousal is a curse
WHAT if you were experiencing a situation where you were always aroused, even without any sexual stimulation? It's possible, and the medical term is Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD), a spontaneous, persistent and uncontrollable condition which can persist for hours, days, or even weeks at a time, and causes significant distress and pain to the sufferer who may consider it shameful or embarrassing.
A recent report in several publications including the UK Daily Mail told of the experience of 44-year-old nurse Kim Ramsey, who has up to 100 orgasms a day, which has left her in agony as even doing housework triggers a climax.
She said even the slightest pelvic movement — on a train, in a car, doing domestic chores — can trigger a climax, the volume of which has left her tired, in pain and unable to have a normal relationship.
Ramsey said she no longer feels like she has control over her own body.
"Imagine feeling aroused for no reason other than you got up that day," she told the Daily Mail.
She believes the condition developed from a cyst that formed on her spine after she fell down some stairs in 2001.
Clinical sexologist Dr Karen Carpenter said she has treated women locally with the condition, but these patients usually come in for other complaints.
"Yes I have treated clients with this disorder," Dr Carpenter admitted. "But they each came in for other sexual complaints. It is a very rare condition and we sometimes only hear about the most extreme cases. The degree of severity can also change over time."
Dr Carpenter pointed to the fact that the physical symptoms are not related to any sexual thoughts, desire or activity. In fact, engaging in sexual activity during an episode of PGAD does not relieve the symptoms, and can make the condition more severe. These symptoms usually occur 'out of the blue', and persist throughout the day's normal activities.
This makes sufferers uncomfortable and distracted and they often describe the feelings as more painful than pleasurable.
Orgasms can sometimes provide temporary relief, but within hours the symptoms return. The return of symptoms, with the exception of known triggers, is sudden and unpredictable.
According to medics, the symptoms can be debilitating, preventing concentration on mundane tasks.
Professor Horace Fletcher, obstetrician and gynaecologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies, said many Jamaicans probably see the condition and refer to it by other names — like horny woman, nymphomaniac, etc.
The cause of PGAD is generally unknown and is difficult to treat. Doctors have tried both psychological and physical therapy treatments to try to help persons with the disorder.
And a similar condition can also occur in males, known as Priapism.
Priapism is a recognised diagnosable medical condition, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
It is a potentially painful medical condition in which the erect penis does not return to its flaccid state, despite the absence of both physical and psychological stimulation, and can go on for more than six hours. It's caused when blood in the penis gets trapped and doesn't drain.
There are many causes, including Sickle Cell, use of certain medications, trauma and drug use.
Treatment, unlike in PGAD, is possible.