Understanding Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)


Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) is a rare and distressing condition characterized by persistent sensations of genital arousal, typically in the absence of sexual desire or stimulation. The condition can last for hours or even days, causing significant distress and disruption to the affected individuals’ lives. People with PGAD may experience uncontrollable and spontaneous genital sensations that may be accompanied by surges of blood flow, muscle contractions, and tingling or itching sensations in the genital area. This article will explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for PGAD.


The primary symptom of PGAD is persistent sexual arousal that continues for an extended period, sometimes without relief. People with PGAD may experience spontaneous orgasms, sometimes referred to as non-genital orgasms. This differs from a typical orgasm that is triggered by sexual stimulation. The arousal may appear to come out of the blue or may occur in response to minor stimuli such as touching or vibrations from a car ride. It is also not uncommon for people with PGAD to suffer from chronic pelvic pain or discomfort in the genital area.

Other symptoms of PGAD may include:

  • Anxiety and depression due to sexual distress
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Interference with daily activities
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Decreased libido


The cause of PGAD is not well understood, and there is no single factor that can be attributed to it. Earlier, PGAD was commonly associated with sexual arousal in women, but today, it is also diagnosed in men. The condition is often mistaken for hypersexuality, but the two are not the same. Hypersexuality is an excessive sexual drive or behavior, while PGAD is a persistent and often uncontrollable feeling of sexual sensations that are not linked to sexual desire or behavior.

In many cases, PGAD is associated with other medical conditions, including nerve damage, genital abnormalities, and psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression. Hormone fluctuations and certain medications may also trigger PGAD. Although rare, sexual trauma or abuse may lead to PGAD.

Treatment Options

PGAD is a complicated and distressing condition that requires a personalized treatment plan. To date, no cure has been identified for PGAD. Instead, treatment focuses on symptom management and stress reduction, improving the quality of life for those suffering from the condition.

Treatment options for PGAD may include:


Medications such as antidepressants or antipsychotics may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are associated with the disorder. Muscle relaxants such as baclofen may be used to relieve pelvic or genital pain.

Physical Therapy

In some cases, physical therapy may help reduce PGAD symptoms. Patients may be encouraged to relax the pelvic floor muscle through exercises, biofeedback and electrical stimulation.

Pelvic Massage

Pelvic massage is another effective approach that might be prescribed to provide temporary relief from the discomfort associated with PGAD.

Pelvic Floor Trigger Point Injections

PGAD is believed to result from hypertonicity of the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor trigger point injections are performed by injecting the pelvic floor muscles with medications that help relieve muscle tension.

Counseling or Therapy

Counseling or therapy may help individuals dealing with anxiety or depression, which often accompany PGAD. The therapist may also use cognitive-behavioral techniques such as mindfulness to calm and reduce anxiety.


Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been found to alleviate symptoms in some patients.


PGAD is a challenging and often misunderstood condition. It can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, including their sexual and emotional health. It is essential to seek professional help if you think you have PGAD. Although there is no cure, several treatments can help reduce symptoms and enable individuals to manage and improve their quality of life.


FAQs about Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

What is Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder?

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, or PGAD, is a condition characterized by ongoing, unwanted sensations of genital arousal that persist for hours or even days. PGAD can occur in both men and women and can cause significant distress and interference with daily life.

What are the symptoms of PGAD?

The symptoms of PGAD may include ongoing, unwanted sensations of genital arousal, including tingling, genital fullness, and pulsing or throbbing sensations. The symptoms may be spontaneous or triggered by certain activities, such as sitting or wearing tight clothing. Some people with PGAD may also experience spontaneous, uncontrolled genital orgasms.

What treatments are available for PGAD?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for PGAD, and treatment approaches may vary depending on the individual case. Some options include antidepressant or anticonvulsant medications, pelvic floor physical therapy, mindfulness techniques or psychotherapy. In some cases, surgical intervention may be considered. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider or specialist to determine the best treatment options for each individual.


1. Leiblum, S. R., & Nathan, S. G. (2009). Persistent sexual arousal syndrome: A newly discovered pattern of female sexuality. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 35(2), 146-165. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/00926230802610294

2. Waldinger, M. D. (2008). Persistent genital arousal disorder in 18 Dutch women: Part II. A syndrome clustered with restless legs and overactive bladder. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5(3), 844-851. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00684.x

3. Jackowich, R. A., Pink, L., & Gordon, A. (2016). The experience of persistent genital arousal in women: a review of important considerations for health care providers. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 4(3), 294-302. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2016.03.002