Friday, March 31, 2006

Hysterectomy Associated With Low Sexual Desire

A new survey in The Journal of Sexual Medicine indicates that surgically menopausal women (those who have undergone a hysterectomy or oophorectomy) are at an increased risk of low sexual desire and impeded sexual function. It also appears that surgically menopausal women, when compared to pre-menopausal or naturally menopausal women, are at a significantly increased risk for low sexual desire and also decreased pleasure, and orgasmic difficulties.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, said that "while this investigation focused on sexual interest, there was significant correlation of low desire with low arousal, decreased pleasure, or orgasmic difficulties which can lead to dissatisfaction with sex life and the partner relationship."

The surgically menopausal women in the study, aged between 20 and 70 years, were also found to be more likely to have the condition Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder. The women with low sexual desire were significantly less likely to engage in sexual activity and significantly more likely to be dissatisfied with their sex life and partner relationship than women with normal desire.

"Women who undergo hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries are more likely to have low sexual desire and also more likely to be distressed about this," said lead author of the study Dr. Lorraine Dennerstein, from the University of Melbourne, Australia. "There is marked variation in prevalence of this type of surgery throughout the world. The USA has a higher prevalence than, for example, France. Doctors and patients need to be aware that there may be detrimental effects on sexual function as a result of the surgery. The findings suggest hormonal causation for the lowered sexual desire." Co-researcher, Dr. Alessandra Graziottin, added that it was important that doctors consider alternative treatments. "Physicians should consider a more conservative treatment as it concerns the important role of ovaries - prophylactic ovariectomy [oophorectomy] to prevent ovarian cancer is the only case in medicine of removal of a healthy organ to prevent cancer."

Source: The Journal of Sexual Medicine

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