Hormonal Contraception and Female Sexuality

Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM)

Stephanie Both, Michal Lew-Starowicz, Mijal Luria, Gideon Sartorius, Elisa Maseroli, Francesca Tripodi, Lior Lowenstein, Rossella E. Nappi, Giovanni Corona, Yacov Reisman, Linda Vignozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Hormonal contraception is available worldwide in many different forms. Fear of side effects and health concerns are among the main reasons for not using contraceptives or discontinuing their use. Although the safety and efficacy of contraceptives have been extensively examined, little is known about their impact on female sexual function, and the evidence on the topic is controversial. Aim: To review the available evidence about the effects of hormonal contraceptives on female sexuality in order to provide a position statement and clinical practice recommendations on behalf of the European Society of Sexual Medicine. Methods: A comprehensive review of the literature was performed. Main Outcome Measure: Several aspects of female sexuality have been investigated, including desire, orgasmic function, lubrication and vulvovaginal symptoms, pelvic floor and urological symptoms, partner preference, and relationship and sexual satisfaction. For each topic, data were analyzed according to the different types of hormonal contraceptives (combined estrogen-progestin methods, progestin-only methods, and oral or non-oral options). Results: Recommendations according to the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine 2011 Levels of Evidence criteria and specific statements on this topic, summarizing the European Society of Sexual Medicine position, were developed. Clinical Implications: There is not enough evidence to draw a clear algorithm for the management of hormonal contraception-induced sexual dysfunction, and further studies are warranted before conclusions can be drawn. A careful baseline psychological, sexual, and relational assessment is necessary for the health care provider to evaluate eventual effects of hormonal contraceptives at follow-up. Strengths & Limitations: All studies have been evaluated by a panel of experts who have provided recommendations for clinical practice. Conclusion: The effects of hormonal contraceptives on sexual function have not been well studied and remain controversial. Available evidence indicates that a minority of women experience a change in sexual functioning with regard to general sexual response, desire, lubrication, orgasm, and relationship satisfaction. The pathophysiological mechanisms leading to reported sexual difficulties such as reduced desire and vulvovaginal atrophy remain unclear. Insufficient evidence is available on the correlation between hormonal contraceptives and pelvic floor function and urological symptoms. Both S, Lew-Starowicz M, Luria M, et al. Hormonal Contraception and Female Sexuality: Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM). J Sex Med 2019;XX:XXX–XXX.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Sexuality
Contraceptive Agents
Contraception
Medicine
Orgasm
Lubrication
Pelvic Floor
Progestins
Female Contraceptive Agents
Evidence-Based Medicine
Health Personnel
Fear
Atrophy
Estrogens
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Psychology
Safety
Health

Keywords

  • Female Sexual Dysfunction
  • Hormonal Contraception
  • Intrauterine Device
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Sexual Desire
  • Vulvovaginal Atrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Urology

Cite this

Both, S., Lew-Starowicz, M., Luria, M., Sartorius, G., Maseroli, E., Tripodi, F., ... Vignozzi, L. (Accepted/In press). Hormonal Contraception and Female Sexuality: Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM). Journal of Sexual Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.08.005

Hormonal Contraception and Female Sexuality : Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM). / Both, Stephanie; Lew-Starowicz, Michal; Luria, Mijal; Sartorius, Gideon; Maseroli, Elisa; Tripodi, Francesca; Lowenstein, Lior; Nappi, Rossella E.; Corona, Giovanni; Reisman, Yacov; Vignozzi, Linda.

In: Journal of Sexual Medicine, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Both, S, Lew-Starowicz, M, Luria, M, Sartorius, G, Maseroli, E, Tripodi, F, Lowenstein, L, Nappi, RE, Corona, G, Reisman, Y & Vignozzi, L 2019, 'Hormonal Contraception and Female Sexuality: Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM)', Journal of Sexual Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.08.005
Both, Stephanie ; Lew-Starowicz, Michal ; Luria, Mijal ; Sartorius, Gideon ; Maseroli, Elisa ; Tripodi, Francesca ; Lowenstein, Lior ; Nappi, Rossella E. ; Corona, Giovanni ; Reisman, Yacov ; Vignozzi, Linda. / Hormonal Contraception and Female Sexuality : Position Statements from the European Society of Sexual Medicine (ESSM). In: Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2019.
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