People with persistent genital arousal disorder, or PGAD, are constantly in a state of sexual arousal. Actual symptoms of PGAD can vary. Women often experience the physical signs of arousal, including engorgement in their genitals, without even thinking about sex. They can also have such sensitive genital areas that driving or wearing certain types of clothing can cause arousal.
People with PGAD sometimes have spontaneous orgasms, which can number in the dozens each day, or they may have to self-stimulate to find relief. But this relief doesn't last long. The arousal may return within hours, minutes or even seconds, and it can last for days, weeks or months at a time.
Initially, having (or needing to have) orgasms so often might not sound like a bad thing. But for women with PGAD, it's not enjoyable -- it's debilitating, preventing them from sleeping, working or even getting through a family meal. Some women claim to have had PGAD since childhood, while for others it began during a pregnancy or post-menopause. People with the condition often feel ashamed and wait years to seek medical help.
Medical literature only recognized PGAD within the last decade, and doctors are unsure of its cause. It may be due to malfunctioning or damaged sensory nerves. Some patients have been successfully treated with medication such as antidepressants or Chantix (initially used to curb nicotine addiction). Others try to just live with it, thankful that they at least have a name for their mysterious disorder.
Next, we'll look at a condition that's similar in some ways to PGAD: priapism.