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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 Jan 25. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6905. [Epub ahead of print]

Sexual Function Under Adequate Estrogen Therapy in Women After Oophorectomy Versus Natural Menopause.

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1 Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Research in Vascular Biology (BioVasc), Biomedical Center, State University of Rio de Janeiro-Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
3 Departament of Endocrinology, Lagoa's Federal Hospital-Hospital Federal da Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



There is scarce evidence regarding endogenous postmenopausal ovarian testosterone (T) production and estrogen replacement roles in different sexual domains. This study aimed to determine whether lower endogenous T in oophorectomized women that were estradiol (E2)-treated influenced global or specific domains of sexual function. Depressive and cognitive symptoms were evaluated to exclude potential confounders.


Eighty-one recently postmenopausal women treated with transdermal E2, 36 with bilateral oophorectomy (O), and 45 controls (C) were investigated through hormonal profile, Female Sexual Function Index, Mini Mental, and Beck Depression Inventory.


T levels, as expected, were lower in O than in C (p = 0.001); nonetheless, O presented a lower risk of sexual dysfunction (55.6% vs. 85.7%, p = 0.037), due to less pain (p = 0.005), increased lubrication (p = 0.012), and satisfaction (p = 0.042). O, however, required 50% higher E2 gel doses to control vasomotor symptoms (VMS) than did C. In O, all T measurements were positively, although weakly, correlated with desire (r = 0.374-0.381, p = 0.016-0.024). E2 levels were positively correlated with arousal in all women (r = 0.338, p = 0.038) and in O (r = 0.521, p = 0.032). Depression and cognition scores did not differ between the groups.


Despite lower T levels, O women receiving E2 therapy had better global sexual function. Earlier onset and longer E2 treatment could have prevented vulvovaginal atrophy in O. Oophorectomized patients may require higher doses of E2 replacement. E2 levels, achieved by appropriate hormone therapy for VMS control, and very low T levels correlated with distinct sexual domains and may act in complementary areas of sexuality in postmenopausal women.


arousal; desire; estradiol; oophorectomy; postmenopause; sexuality; testosterone


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