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Characteristics of premenopausal and postmenopausal women with acquired, generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder: the Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder Registry for women

Rosen, Raymond C. PhD1; Maserejian, Nancy N. ScD1; Connor, Megan K. MPH1; Krychman, Michael L. MD2; Brown, Candace S. PharmD, MSN3; Goldstein, Irwin MD4

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318230e286
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Objective Little is known about the natural history of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). We examined the sociodemographic, relationship, help seeking, sexual function, and medical characteristics of women with a clinical diagnosis of generalized, acquired HSDD by menopause status.

Methods This study was a cross-sectional baseline data analysis from the HSDD Registry for Women (N = 1,574, from 33 US clinical sites). HSDD was clinically diagnosed and confirmed. Validated measures of sexual function, relationship factors, and health, as well as newly developed questions on help seeking were assessed using the questionnaire.

Results Participants were predominantly married or living with a partner (81.7%) and represented a range of race/ethnic backgrounds and ages (mean ± SD, 42.9 ± 11.9 y). Most (56.8%) described their HSDD severity as “moderate to severe,” with 26.5% rating the problem severe. Nonetheless, most women (69.8%) reported being happy in their relationship, and 61.8% were satisfied with their partner communication. Postmenopausal women had lower Female Sexual Function Index total scores, indicating worse sexual function (14.0 ± 7.5) than premenopausal women (16.7 ± 6.8, P < 0.001), although both groups had similarly low scores on the sexual desire domain (3.4 ± 1.3 vs 3.3 ± 1.4). Less than half of the overall sample had sought professional help, among whom hormonal treatments had been used by 23.7% of postmenopausal women and by 7.6% of premenopausal women.

Conclusions Most women with HSDD were in long-term partner relationships with high levels of overall relationship satisfaction. Postmenopausal women were more likely to seek help for their disorder, despite similarly high levels of distress associated with HSDD. Further research is needed to examine treatment outcomes.

In this registry study most women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) were in long-term partner relationships with high levels of overall relationship satisfaction. Compared to premenopausal women, postmenopausal women were more likely to seek help for their disorder, despite the similarly high levels of distress associated with HSDD.

From the 1Department of Epidemiology, New England Research Institutes Inc., Watertown, MA; 2Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, Newport Beach, CA; 3Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; and 4San Diego Sexual Medicine, San Diego, CA.

Received May 6, 2011; revised and accepted August 2, 2011.

Funding/support: This study was supported by a grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: R.C.R. has received financial support from Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. He serves as a consultant and research advisor to Boehringer Ingelheim Inc., Palatin Technologies, and Johnson and Johnson and has no stock or ownership to report. N.N.M., M.K.C., and C.S.B. have no conflicts of interest to declare. M.L.K. serves on advisory boards for Pfizer, Warner Chicott, Boehringer Ingelheim Inc., and Johnson and Johnson and on speakers’ bureaus for Pfizer, Warner Chicott, and Boehringer Ingelheim Inc. He has no stock or ownerships to report. I.G. has received research support from Astellas, Auxilium, BioSante, Boehringer Ingelheim Inc., Endoceutics, G & H Brands, Medtronic Vascular, Neocutis, Pfizer, and Slate and Vivus and honorariums from Abbott, AMS, Auxilium, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim Inc., Coloplast, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer and has served as a consultant to Alagin Research, Fabre Kramer, Medtronic Vascular, Neocutis, and Slate. He has no stock or ownerships to report.

Address correspondence to: Raymond C. Rosen, PhD, New England Research Institutes Inc., 9 Galen Street, Watertown, MA 02472. E-mail: rrosen@neriscience.com

©2012The North American Menopause Society