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Contraceptives wound female sexual desire

10 Oct 2020
Cyclical oral contraceptives are recommended as long-term measures to relieve the pain of dysmenorrhoea.

While the use of contraceptives seems to be unrelated to female sexual dysfunction (FSD), it appears to negatively impact sexual desire, reports a recent meta-analysis.

Drawing from online databases, researchers retrieved 12 studies with a pooled sample size of 9,427 participants. Only studies that used the female sexual function index (FSFI) to assess sexual function were eligible.

Pooled analysis of five studies revealed that FSFI scores did not significantly differ between women who did and did not take contraceptives (standardized mean difference [SMD], –1.03, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], –2.09 to 0.01 p=0.053), though heterogeneity of evidence was significant (p<0.001).

Similarly, the risk of FSD was not significantly affected by the use of contraceptives and remained comparable between groups (relative risk [RR], 1.29, 95 percent CI, 0.72–2.28; p=0.392).

However, looking at the individual FSFI domains, they found that the scores in the subscale for sexual desire was significantly lowered in women who were on contraceptives (SMD, –1.17, 95 percent CI, –2.09 to –0.24; p=0.014).

Arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain were all likewise unaffected by the use of contraceptives.

“The results revealed that women [who] received contraceptives had a slight but not significantly lower value in total FSFI scores when compared to those [who] did not use contraception, and no positive relationship was found between contraception usage and FSD,” though sexual desire seemed to be impaired, the researchers said

The findings should be taken in view of important study limitations, particularly the small number of included studies, all of which were observational, they added. Future well-designed trials on the subject are still needed to better understand the impacts of contraception on female sexual function.

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