Good Vibrations: Moving from a sex toy to a medical device

New Orleans – Official medical studies of vibrators have shown positive effects on several sexual and urinary outcomes in women, according to a review of the published literature.

Although limited in number, studies have resulted in favorable changes in blood flow and genital tissue muscle tone, improved multiple aspects of sexual arousal and satisfaction, increased orgasmic response, and reduced sexual distress. In women with pelvic floor dysfunction, use of vibrators was associated with reduced urine leakage and urinary symptoms and significantly improved pelvic muscle strength. Other studies have shown that vibrators reduce pain and improve sexual enjoyment in women with vulvodynia.

Medical providers, especially gynecologists, urologists and FPMRS [female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery specialists] Alexandra Dubinskaya, MD, a physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said in a statement. American Urological Association annual meeting. “We need to remove the stigma around vibrators and I think that will be possible soon because we are now normalizing the debate around women’s sexual health.”

“In our clinic, we usually ask our patients to eat healthy food, to exercise, to get enough sleep and to please use a vibrator,” she added.

Rubin, MD, of Georgetown University in Washington, Vibrators should be viewed as another form of technology that can be applied to benefit patients in clinical practice.

“I think we use technology to make our lives better in almost every way…and the bedroom should not be absent from technology,” she said. “Sex technology is more incredible now, than it used to be. It’s no longer just regular stores with newspapers over the windows, but really cool, sophisticated devices for couples of all genders. There are many health benefits to these devices.”

“I think if we have male partners who care about devices in the bedroom, everyone’s sexual health will improve,” she said. “[Dubinskaya’s] Work and work we do in terms of The science behind itIt removes shame and guilt. We know that women take longer to orgasm than their male partners, and this is because the clitoris is all internal. Educating people basic science and physiology will make sex more enjoyable, more enjoyable, and help everyone enjoy a better quality of life [QoL]. “

Dubinskaya said that therapeutic vibration stimulation has its origins in the historical condition known as female hysteria, which is associated with excessive emotions and is believed to be associated with marital relations, orgasm, and pregnancy. Early practitioners who treated this condition used manual pelvic massage to bring women to orgasm, which was thought to reduce emotionality.

“Because doctors’ hands were getting tired while they were doing pelvic massages for women with female hysteria, they kept looking for ways to free their hands,” she said.

The research took practitioners to hydrotherapy with pelvic lavage, a flat, charcoal-fired surface with a rotating ball in the middle for women to sit on, and finally to the first hand-held electric vibrators, which were also used to treat constipation, arthritis, muscle strain and “pelvic congestion.”

Over the years, Dubinskaya said, the reputation of vibrators as sex toys has overshadowed the association with potential health benefits, backed by the use of devices in early porn. Modern vibrators are traditionally associated with female sexual pleasure and have a phallic shape, characterized by a high-tech appearance. Surveys conducted over a decade ago have shown that the majority of women and over 40% of men have reported using a vibrator at some point in their lives.

Dubinskaya and colleagues sought to evaluate the evidence supporting the medical benefits of vibrators in women. They conducted a systematic review of the literature, focusing on studies related to sexual health, pelvic floor function, and vulvar health. Of the 558 abstracts of potential significance, 21 met all inclusion criteria, which consist of 11 studies on female sexual dysfunction, nine studies on pelvic floor dysfunction, and one on vulvitis.

From a scientific perspective, impotence studies have shown that vibrational stimulation facilitates vasodilation and blood flow, improves tissue perfusion and metabolism, reduces muscle tone, and increases relaxation. Clinically, the use of vibrators was associated with a significant improvement in the female sexual function index score (s<0.001), as well as increased arousal, orgasm, and genital sensation.

Patients who used the vibrator reported increased libido, satisfaction, and overall sexual function, as well as reduced time to orgasm, multiple orgasms, and reduced stress.

Pelvic floor dysfunction studies showed that vibratory stimulation was associated with a significant (s<0.001) Reduction in sanitary napkin use among women with stress incontinence and urine leakage, as well as decreased urinary symptoms. Significant improvement in pelvic floor muscle tones<0.001), QoL improvement as assessed by multiple measures, as well as patient satisfaction with treatment.

The individual study of vulvar pain focused on vibratory stimulation to relieve pain and associated symptoms. Dubinskaya said that after 4 to 6 weeks of using the vibrator, women reported antinociceptive and desensitizing effects, less pain, and increased sexual enjoyment. More than 80% of study participants expressed satisfaction with the treatment, and 90% said they were comfortable that their doctor offered vibrators as a form of therapy.

Enrollment in a clinical trial was initiated to determine which conditions and which characteristics of sexual dysfunction benefit most from the use of vibrators. The benefit will continue until the end of the year, and Dubinskaya encouraged patients and doctors to do so Contact her for more information about the study.

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    Charles Bankhead Senior Editor in the Department of Oncology and also covers urology, dermatology, and ophthalmology. He joined MedPage today in 2007. Follow


Dubinskaya and co-authors reveal a lack of industry ties.