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JAMA. 2005 Jul 6;294(1):91-6.

Circulating androgen levels and self-reported sexual function in women.

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  • 1Women's Health Program, Department of Medicine, Monash Medical School, Alfred Hospital, Victoria, Australia. <>



It has been proposed that low sexual desire and sexual dysfunction are associated with low blood testosterone levels in women. However, evidence to support this is lacking.


To determine whether women with low self-reported sexual desire and sexual satisfaction are more likely to have low serum androgen levels than women without self-reported low sexual desire and sexual satisfaction.


A community-based, cross-sectional study of 1423 women aged 18 to 75 years, who were randomly recruited via the electoral roll in Victoria, Australia, from April 2002 to August 2003. Women were excluded from the analysis if they took psychiatric medication, had abnormal thyroid function, documented polycystic ovarian syndrome, or were younger than 45 years and using oral contraception.


Domain scores of the Profile of Female Sexual Function (PFSF) and serum levels of total and free testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.


A total of 1021 individuals were included in the final analysis. No clinically significant relationships between having a low score for any PFSF domain and having a low serum total or free testosterone or androstenedione level was demonstrated. A low domain score for sexual responsiveness for women aged 45 years or older was associated with higher odds of having a serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate level below the 10th percentile for this age group (odds ratio [OR], 3.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.54-9.81; P = .004). For women aged 18 to 44 years, having a low domain score for sexual desire (OR, 3.86; 95% CI, 1.27-11.67; P = .02), sexual arousal (OR, 6.39; 95% CI, 2.30-17.73; P<.001), and sexual responsiveness (OR, 6.59; 95% CI, 2.37-18.34; P<.001) was associated with having a dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate level below the 10th percentile.


No single androgen level is predictive of low female sexual function, and the majority of women with low dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels did not have low sexual function.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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