Changes in sexual functioning in women of reproductive age with infertility and diminished ovarian reserve

Gavisova AA, Stenyaeva NN, Gardanova ZR, Nazarenko TA, Dolgushina NV
About authors

Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, Moscow, Russia

Correspondence should be addressed: Alla A. Gavisova
Akademika Oparina, 4, Moscow, 117997; ur.ay@allaivag

About paper

Author contribution: Gavisova AA — analysis, manuscript writing, final approval; Gavisova AA, Dolgushina NV — study design; Stenyaeva NN, Gardanova ZR, Nazarenko TA, Dolgushina NV — review.

Compliance with ethical standards: the study was approved by the ethical review board at the Kulakov National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology (protocol № 2 of 07 February 2019).

Received: 2022-08-26 Accepted: 2022-09-13 Published online: 2022-09-23

Androgens play a key role in the physiology of the female body and the reproductive system. Androgen receptor expression in the various tissues points to the importance of androgens in the regulation of the female sexual and social functioning. The study aimed to evaluate sexual functioning in women with infertility and diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) using the Female Sexual Functioning Index questionnaire (FSFI). A cross-sectional study of 496 patients with infertility and DOR assessed the degree of sexual dysfunction in conjunction with the changes in the androgenic profiles as indicated by the androstenedione levels in the blood serum. Women with infertility and DOR were significantly more likely to report changes in sexual functioning, including a decrease in libido and in the quality and frequency of sexual relations. Furthermore, patients with normal androstenedione levels generally significantly outscored patients with decreased androstenedione levels (average questionnaire scores 21.2 ± 7.2 and 15.17 ± 3.0 respectively), indicating a lesser degree of sexual dysfunction in the former group; on the other hand, the latter group reported increased pain and decreased attraction, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction. Hormonal profile changes in patients with DOR, including decreased androstenedione levels, significantly impact sexual functioning, and their detection in clinical practice will allow to objectify complaints at an earlier state in order to assess the severity of sexual dysfunction and determine further personalized management tactics.