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ASRM: Hormones a Sign of Sex Dysfunction in Menopause

Sexual dysfunction more than twice as common in postmenopausal women

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women are twice as likely as premenopausal women to experience sexual dysfunction, and levels of hormones such as testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone and dehydroepiandrosterone may predict if a woman is at risk, according to two studies presented Oct. 24 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in New Orleans.

In the first study, John F. Randolph, Jr., M.D., of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, and colleagues measured the levels of seven hormones annually and their association with sexual desire in 3,302 menstruating women as they progressed through menopause. They found that follicle stimulating hormone levels best predicted prevalent desire while testosterone levels best predicted the frequency of sexual desire. However, they note that "the associations are small and of questionable clinical significance."

In the second study, Clarisa R. Gracia, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, measured the levels of six hormones and their association with sexual function in over 400 women 35 to 37 years old. They found that sexual dysfunction was 2.3 times more common in postmenopausal women, with dehydroepiandrosterone protecting against dysfunction and more dysfunction in women lacking a sexual partner, having high anxiety, or having children living at home.

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