The menopausal transition is a biological adaptation to the variety of life changes (body, comorbidities, relationship), but that biology is not an “end all” in the context of sexual function and overall sexual health. The aim of this study is to evaluate determinants altering the risk of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) and other sexual problems and to establish whether menopausal hormonal therapy (MHT) decreases that risk and modifies sexual behaviors.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in 210 women between the ages of 45 and 55. Two groups were identified: MHT users (n = 107) and controls—MHT non-users (n = 103). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -five criteria were used to assess sexual dysfunction. Sexual problems were evaluated by the Changes in Sexual Function Questionnaire (CSFQ), body image by Body Exposure during Sexual Activity Questionnaire, and quality of relationship by the Well-Match Relationship Questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to determine the risk factors for FSD and sexual problems.
Women using MHT had higher body esteem during sexual activities, better sexual function (CSFQ) in all domains except desire/interest, better quality of relationship, and lower prevalence of FSD and sexual complaints (CSFQ) except arousal/excitement problems. However, self-rated effects of MHT on sexual behaviors showed that MHT did not play a major role. Women with secondary and higher education (OR = 0.09, CI: 0.02-0.4; P < 0.01 and OR = 0.2, CI: 0.05-1.0; P < 0.05, respectively) and with a higher number of lifetime sexual partners (OR = 0.6, CI: 0.4-0.9; P < 0.01) were less likely to have FSD. In contrast, individuals with more anxious behaviors during sexual activity (OR = 3.2, CI: 1.3-7.3; P < 0.01) and with more severe menopausal symptoms (OR = 1.1, CI: 1.0-1.2; P < 0.001) were more likely to have FSD. Using MHT was not associated with that risk nor with sexual function.
In women during menopausal transition, sexual behaviors were different in MHT users compared with non-users. However, in this cross-sectional observational study conducted in 210 women between the ages of 45 to 55 years, using MHT was not associated with modification of sexual function, decreasing the risk of sexual dysfunction, nor sexual problems.