Can OCs contribute to sexual dysfunction?

November 1, 2004

If a patient on hormonal contraceptives (HC) is complaining about lack of interest in sex, one of the first things to think about is stopping her contraceptive.

If a patient on hormonal contraceptives (HC) is complaining about lack of interest in sex, one of the first things to think about is stopping her contraceptive. According to a paper presented at this year's ASRM conference, about 15% of women on oral, transvaginal, or transdermal contraceptives experience diminished libido and vaginal dryness. When researchers from UCLA instructed patients experiencing such sexual problems to stop their HC, they noticed a significant improvement in libido, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm. While the study only involved 11 patients, the investigators nevertheless found that these sexual improvements correlated with changes in serum testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin, suggesting that the "anti-androgenic" features of HC may have a downside. (Abstract O-195 Fertil Steril. Vol 82; Suppl 2, 2004).