The presentation of hypoactive sexual desire disorder in premenopausal women

Nancy N Maserejian, Jan L Shifren, Sharon J Parish, Glenn D Braunstein, Eric P Gerstenberger, Raymond C Rosen
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2010, 7 (10): 3439-48

INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the clinical presentation of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women or their perceptions of sexual problems.

AIM: Describe characteristics of premenopausal women with clinically diagnosed acquired, generalized HSDD, and investigate factors perceived to contribute to desire problems.

METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from premenopausal women with clinically diagnosed and confirmed HSDD enrolled during the first year of the HSDD Registry for Women (N=400).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Relationship, demographic, and clinical characteristics were assessed by clinician's medical history review and self-administered questionnaire. Sexual desire function was measured by the validated Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).

RESULTS: Over 85% of women cited multiple factors that contributed to ongoing decreased desire (mean 2.9± 2.3 factors, range 0-12). Most commonly cited contributing factors were "stress or fatigue" (60.0%), "dissatisfaction with my physical appearance" (40.8%), and other sexual difficulties (e.g., inability to reach orgasm) (33.5%). Exploratory analyses of the FSFI score confirmed that self-image (P=0.002) and other sexual problems (P<0.001) were significantly associated with decreased desire. Almost all (96%) participants were currently in a partner relationship. Antidepressant medication was currently used by 18.0% of women, hormonal contraceptives by 28.5%, and hormonal medications (for noncontraceptive reasons) by 7.3%. Physical functioning was consistent with general population norms (SF-36 mean±standard deviation, 53.3±7.6 vs. norm of 50±10), while overall mental functioning was slightly lower (SF-36, 44.7±10.6).

CONCLUSIONS: Within this sample of premenopausal women with clinically diagnosed HSDD, decreased sexual desire was associated with multiple factors, including poor self-image and stress or fatigue. Clinicians presented with premenopausal women expressing sexual desire problems should assess patients' perceptions of their condition to develop a comprehensive, patient-oriented management plan. Therapy may need to address issues with low self-esteem and mood and offer practical coping mechanisms for stress and fatigue.

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