In the postintervention phase of the Women’s Health Initiative Hormone Therapy trials, estrogen therapy (ET) participants formerly assigned to ET were significantly more likely to report sexual activity than those formerly assigned to placebo. Also, women who discontinued estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT) were significantly more likely to report negative vaginal and sex-related effects. Surveys were sent postintervention to those who were still taking study pills and agreed to continue in the study when the trials were stopped. 13,902 women (mean age at survey ~70 years for EPT trial, women with intact uterus and 71.7 years for ET trial, women with history of hysterectomy) were included. Researchers found:
- Prevalence of sexual activity postintervention was not significantly different between former EPT and placebo users.
- Sexual activity of former ET users was 5.6% higher vs placebo users.
- Most sexually active women overall maintained orgasmic capacity and sexual satisfaction.
- Former EPT users were 10% to 12% more likely than former placebo users to report decreased desire, arousal, intercourse, climax, and satisfaction with sexual activity.
- Former ET users were more likely than placebo users to report rare to no desire or arousal postintervention.
Gass M, Larson J, Cochrane B, et al. Sexual activity and vaginal symptoms in the postintervention phase of the Women’s Health Initiative Hormone Therapy trials. [Published online ahead of print November 6, 2017]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000994.
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