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Testosterone Levels Play a Role in Menopausal Women’s Sex Lives

Update Date: Nov 20, 2014 01:35 PM EST

Hormone levels can play a small role in menopausal women's sex lives, a new study reported.

"While levels of testosterone and other reproductive hormones were linked to women's feelings of desire and frequency of masturbation, our large-scale study suggests psychosocial factors influence many aspects of sexual function," said one of the study's authors, John F. Randolph, Jr., MD, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI. "A woman's emotional well-being and quality of her intimate relationship are tremendously important contributors to sexual health."

For this study, the researchers analyzed data on 3,302 women who were a part of the Study of Women's Health around the Nation (SWAN), which focused on the link between reproductive hormones and sexual function in menopausal women. Hormones, which included testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), were measured via a blood test. Sexual activity and interest in it were recorded by using a questionnaire.

The team found that women with naturally higher levels of testosterone and DHEAS were more likely to report sexual desire and were more likely to masturbate when compared to women with low levels of the two hormones. In contrast, women with high levels of FSH reported a lower frequency of masturbation in comparison o women with lower levels.

"Women's relationships and day-to-day reality are intricately linked to sexual function," Randolph said according to the press release. "Our findings suggest menopausal women who are dissatisfied with their sexual function should consider whether these non-hormonal factors are playing a role when discussing treatment with a qualified health care provider."

The study was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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