With Infertility May Come Sexual Dysfunction

Stress could be a root cause, expert suggests

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FRIDAY, March 19, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Infertile women face an increased risk for sexual dysfunction, a new study reports.

Stanford University researchers compared a group of infertile women, who averaged about 36 years old, with a group of fertile women, who averaged about 33 years old. Their weight and years of education were similar. The average length of infertility was 3.4 years, and 45 percent had been through in-vitro fertilization.

Scores on the Female Sexual Function Index showed that 40 percent of the infertile women were at risk for sexual dysfunction, compared with 25 percent of the others. Infertile women had significantly lower scores on desire and arousal, reported less frequent intercourse and masturbation and had lower scores for sex life satisfaction.

The findings were published online recently in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

"Stress is a significant contributing factor in female sexual dysfunction, and infertility can be a major cause of stress," Dr. William Gibbons, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said in a news release from the society. "More research is needed on the many ways infertility can affect patients' sexual functioning as well as to look for the effects of stress on the infertility process itself."

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about infertility.

SOURCE: American Society for Reproductive Medicine, news release, March 17, 2010

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