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Are there ways to increase genital blood flow in women?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Here are a few products aimed at increasing genital blood flow in women:

Topical medications. Researchers are studying several creams and gels that deliver medication to widen blood vessels. These products are rubbed into the genital tissues before intercourse to enhance arousal. Compounds effective in men, including prostaglandin E-1 and phentolamine, have been tested in women but are still considered experimental. Additionally, the over-the-counter supplement Zestra claims to enhance sexual function in part by increasing genital blood flow.

Mechanical devices. A small pumplike device -- consisting of a small plastic cup that fits over the clitoris and surrounding tissue -- uses suction to draw blood into the clitoris, causing it to swell. This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved unit is sold by prescription to women with arousal disorders under the brand name Eros-CTD (clitoral therapy device). However, such devices are costly and rarely covered by insurance. A less expensive option that does not require a prescription is to try a vibrator, which can also increase blood flow.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.