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McCoy Norma L. PhD
Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: June 1997

Postmenopausal women experience significant declines in sex hormones, particularly estrogens. Estrogens support the sexual and reproductive structures, their sexual response, and, probably, sexual attractiveness. Androgens affect sexual interest, and progestagens may attenuate the sexual effects of both estrogens and androgens. Research finds declines in sexual interest, frequency of sexual intercourse, capacity for orgasm, and vaginal lubrication, with increases in vaginal atrophy and dyspareunia after menopause. Estrogen therapy effectively treats vaginal atrophy. Androgens increase sexual interest in women whose ovaries have been removed or damaged. Structurally human hormones administered nonorally are likely to produce the fewest negative side effects on sexuality.

© 1997 Aspen Publishers, Inc.