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J Sex Med. 2012 Jan;9(1):224-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02539.x. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

Sexual function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA.



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinologic disorder. Little is known about the effects of PCOS on overall sexual functioning, phases of the sexual response cycle, and sexual satisfaction.


To compare the differences in sexual function between women with PCOS and controls, and to assess the relationship of serum testosterone, body mass index (BMI), hirsutism, and acne with sexual function scores in women with PCOS.


A cross-sectional analysis in which women who met the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development criteria for PCOS were compared with a group of healthy volunteers.


Results from the validated Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (CSFQ) were used to assess sexual function. In women with PCOS, serum testosterone levels, BMI, self-reported hirsutism, and acne were assessed as independent variables.


Ninety-two women with PCOS and 82 controls were studied. Based on total CSFQ scores, sexual dysfunction was present in 27.2% of cases vs. 24.4% of controls (not signifcant). Women with PCOS had a significantly lower orgasm/completion score compared with women in the control group (P < 0.001). Women with PCOS whose testosterone levels were >1 standard deviation above the mean had significantly better sexual functioning vs. those within 1 SD (P = 0.015) and those >1 SD below the mean (P = 0.033). In women with PCOS, increasing BMI was associated with a significant reduction in the orgasm/completion subdomain, but no significant associations were found in regard to acne or hirsutism.


Women with PCOS have similar sexual functioning scores compared with controls except in regard to orgasm/completion. The subpopulation of women with PCOS whose serum testosterone levels are in the normal reproductive range are at increased risk for sexual dysfunction.

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