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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1993 Nov;72(8):656-60.

Is sexual life influenced by transdermal estrogen therapy? A double blind placebo controlled study in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Karolinska Institutet, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Danderyd Hospital, Sweden.


Two hundred and forty-two postmenopausal women between 45 and 65 years of age requiring hormone replacement therapy for climacteric symptoms were blindly and randomly allocated to treatment either with transdermal estradiol therapy (Estraderm 50 micrograms/24h) (E) or placebo (P). The patches were changed twice a week and treatment continued for 12 weeks. No progestogen supplement therapy was given during the study. No previous hormone replacement therapy had been given for the last six months and the women had had their last menstruation more than six months ago. As a part of a larger study assessing women's quality of life, a Swedish version of 'McCoy's Sex Scale Questionnaire' was administered at the start of treatment and after 12 weeks. This questionnaire contains nine items regarding different aspects of sexual life. The difference between the scorings at the start of treatment and after 12 weeks were calculated for each item and the values of the E and the P groups were compared. Items regarding 'satisfaction with frequency of sexual activity, sexual fantasies, degree of enjoyment, vaginal lubrication and pain during intercourse' were positively influenced in the E group compared to the P group. Items not affected were 'frequency of orgasm and sexual arousal'. A correlation between improved sexual life and quality of life was also found when the results from the McCoy scale were compared with a battery of quality of life questionnaires.

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