Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Women with low libido: correlation of decreased androgen levels with female sexual function index

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate a possible correlation between decreased androgen levels and female sexual function index (FSFI) in women with low libido and compare these findings with normal age-matched subjects. In total, 20 premenopausal women with low libido (mean age 36.7; range 24–51 y) and 20 postmenopausal women with low libido (mean age 54; 45–70 y), and 20 premenopausal healthy women (mean age 32.2; range 21–51 y) and 20 postmenopausal healthy women (mean age 53.5; range 48–60 y) as controls were enrolled in the current study. Women with low libido had symptoms for at least 6 months and were in stable relationships. All premenopausal patients had regular menstrual cycles and all postmenopausal patients and controls were on estrogen replacement therapy. None of the patients were taking birth control pills, corticosteroids or had a history of chronic medical illnesses. All completed the FSFI and Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI) questionnaires. Hormones measured included: cortisol; T3, T4 and TSH; estradiol; total and free testosterone; dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S); sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). We performed statistical analysis by parametric and nonparametric comparisons and correlations, as appropriate. We found significant differences between the women with low libido and the controls in total testosterone, free testosterone and DHEA-S levels and full-scale FSFI score for both pre- and postmenopausal women (P<0.05). In addition, decreased total testosterone, free testosterone and DHEA-S levels positively correlated with full-scale FSFI score and FSFI-desire, FSFI-arousal, FSFI-lubrication and FSFI-orgasm scores (P<0.05). Our data suggest that women with low libido have lower androgen levels compared to age-matched normal control groups and their decreased androgen levels correlate positively with female sexual function index domains.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

References

  1. Hartmann U, Heiser K, Rüffer-Hesse C, Kloth G . Female sexual desire disorders: subtypes, classification, personality factors and new directions for treatment. World J Urol 2002; 20: 79–88.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Davis S, McCloud P, Strauss B, Burger H . Testosterone enhances estradiol's effects on postmenopausal bone density and sexuality. Maturitas 1996; 21: 227–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Davis S . Androgen replacement in women: a commentary. J Clin Endocr Metab 1999; 84: 1886–1891.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Davis S . Testosterone and sexual desire in women. J Sex Educ Ther 2000; 25: 25–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Sarrel P, Dobay B, Wiita B . Estrogen and estrogen–androgen replacement in postmenopausal women dissatisfied with estrogen–only therapy: sexual behavior and neuroendocrine responses. J Reprod Med 1998; 43: 847–856.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Sarrel P . Effect of hormone replacement therapy on sexual psychophysiology and behavior in postmenopause. J Women Health Gender Based Med 2000; 9(Suppl 1): 25–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Guay AT . Decreased testosterone in regularly menstruating women with decreased libido: a clinical observation. J Sex Marital Ther 2001; 27: 513–519.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Riley A, Riley E . Controlled studies on women presenting with sexual disorders: I. Endocrine status. J Sex Marital Ther 2000; 26: 269–283.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Rosen R et al. The female sexual function index (FSFI): a multidimensional self-report instrument for the assessment of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther 2000; 26: 191–208.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Tazuke S, Khaw K, Barrett-Connor E . Exogenous estrogen and endogenous sex hormones. Medicine 1992; 71: 44–51.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Guay AT, Jacobson J . Decreased free testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) levels in women with decreased libido. J Sex Marital Ther 2002; 28: 129–142.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Bachmann G et al. Female androgen insufficiency: The Princeton consensus statement on definition, classification, and assessment. Fertil Steril 2002; 4: 660–665.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Laumann EO, Paik A, Rosen RC . Sexual dysfunction in the United States: prevalence and predictors. JAMA 1999; 281: 537–544.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Munarriz R et al. Androgen replacement therapy with dehydroepiandrosterone for androgen insufficiency and female sexual dysfunction: androgen and questionnaire results. J Sex Marital Ther 2002; 28: 165–173.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Massafra C et al. Androgens and osteocalcin during the menstrual cycle. J Clin Endoc Met 1999; 84: 971–974.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Barnhart KT et al. The effect of dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation to symptomatic perimenopausal women on serum endocrine profiles, lipid parameters, and health-related quality of life. J Clin Endocr Metab 1999; 84: 3896–3902.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Parker Jr CR et al. Effects of aging on adrenal function in the human: responsiveness and sensitivity of adrenal androgens and cortisol to adrenocorticotropin in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocr Metab 2000; 85: 48–54.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Longcope C . Adrenal and gonadal androgen secretion in normal females. Clin Endocr Metab 1986; 15: 213–228.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Nappi RE et al. Serum allopregnanolone relate to FSFI score during the menstrual cycle. J Sex Marital Ther 2003; 29: 95–102.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to B Turna.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Turna, B., Apaydin, E., Semerci, B. et al. Women with low libido: correlation of decreased androgen levels with female sexual function index. Int J Impot Res 17, 148–153 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijir.3901294

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijir.3901294

Keywords

  • low libido
  • androgen level
  • female sexual desire disorder
  • female sexual function index

Further reading

Search

Quick links