243858 Impact of combined hormonal contraceptive use on women's sexual functioning

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nicole Smith, MPH, CHES , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Kristen Jozkowski, MS , Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Stephanie Sanders, PhD , The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
BACKGROUND: Most unintended pregnancies result from inconsistent, incorrect or non-use of contraceptive methods. Diminished sexual functioning may be a potential barrier to contraception use, especially highly effective methods. Estrogen and progestin, found in combined hormonal contraceptives, may interfere with the natural effects of testosterone which aide in female lubrication and sexual functioning. METHODS: Participants were recruited via an online survey about women's sexual health. Data were collected from 3,125 women. Measures included health indicators, sexual behaviors, and items assessing female sexual functioning and contraception use. RESULTS: Linear regression analyses were conducted to determine if combined hormonal methods predicted more negative sexual health and functioning outcomes compared to methods without hormones. Women utilizing combined hormonal methods were more likely to experience a decrease in vaginal lubrication (p<0.05), more sexual discomfort/pain (p<0.05), and lower levels of sexual desire (p<0.05) and arousal (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These data provide a current assessment of the impacts of combined hormonal contraceptive methods on US women's sexual functioning. Findings may provide insight into why women may use contraceptive methods inconsistently or not at all. Hormonal contraceptives are utilized by many women for a long duration of their lives. These findings suggest a negative impact of hormones on sexual function. Future research should further examine contraception utilization and effectiveness, as well as sexual functioning and satisfaction among contraceptive users and their partners. Public health professionals need to be aware of this potential barrier to contraceptive use and develop interventions to address this issue.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1)Describe the possible negative sexual health outcomes that may result from using combined hormonal methods. 2)Identify the contraceptive methods that contain estrogen and progestin, the methods that contain progestin-only, and the non-hormonal methods. 3)Determine ways to address sexual functioning as a possible barrier to using highly effective methods of contraception.

Keywords: Contraceptives, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student at Indiana University in Health Behavior and a Project Coordinator for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. I have over two years experience in the family planning field and extension knowledge on contraceptives.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.