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Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder in 18 Dutch Women: Part II—A Syndrome Clustered with Restless Legs and Overactive Bladder


  • Marcel D. Waldinger MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neurosexology, HagaHospital Leyenburg, The Hague, the Netherlands;
    2. Department of Psychopharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands;
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  • Dave H. Schweitzer MD, PhD

    1. Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Reinier de Graaf Groep Hospital, Delft-Voorburg, the Netherlands
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Marcel D. Waldinger, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Neurosexology, HagaHospital Leyenburg, Leyweg 275, 2545 CH The Hague, the Netherlands. Tel: (31) 70-210-2086; Fax: (31) 70-210-4902; E-mail:


Introduction.  A systematic study in women with persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) is urgently needed to develop its clinical management.

Aim.  To investigate the features, possible causes, and treatment of PGAD.

Methods.  Eighteen women who fulfilled the five criteria for PGAD were included in the study. In-depth interviews were combined with laboratory and imaging studies as reported in Part I of the study. Clinical responses were observed with drugs exerting activity against a number of different neuro-regulatory mechanisms.

Main Outcome Measures.  Detailed descriptions and clustering of some well established clinical syndromes.

Results.  The majority of women experienced PGAD during early menopause without pre-existing psychiatric disorders and laboratory abnormalities. Most women had difficulties in describing the quality of the genital sensations. These were described in various terms and were diagnosed as dysesthesias and paresthesias. Their intensity was most severe during sitting. A few women reported PGAD during pregnancy and premenstrual. The majority of women also reported preexistent or coexistent restless legs syndrome (RLS) and overactive bladder syndrome (OBS). These strongly associated morbidities point into the direction of a clinical cluster, which harbors PGAD or PGAD plus these typical other disorders. Notably, as in RLS and OBS, it appeared that daily treatment with clonazepam 0.5–1.5 mg was effective in 56% of PGAD women. Also, oxazepam 10 mg and tramadol 50 mg elicited PGAD-reducing effect.

Conclusions.  PGAD seems to belong to a highly associated disease cluster including morbidities, which share an imperative urge to suppress dysesthesias and paresthesias by firm manipulative actions. PGAD—or as proposed by our group, restless genital syndrome (RGS) in the context of its strong association with restless legs—is probably the expression of a nonsexually driven hyperexcitability of the genitals and subsequent attempts to overcome it by genital manipulations. Waldinger MD, and Schweitzer DH. Persistent genital arousal disorder in 18 dutch women: Part II—A syndrome clustered with restless legs and overactive bladder. J Sex Med 2009;6:482–497.