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      Hormonal Contraceptives, Female Sexual Dysfunction, and Managing Strategies: A Review


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          In recent decades, hormonal contraceptives (HC) has made a difference in the control of female fertility, taking an unequivocal role in improving contraceptive efficacy. Some side effects of hormonal treatments have been carefully studied. However, the influence of these drugs on female sexual functioning is not so clear, although variations in the plasma levels of sexual hormones could be associated with sexual dysfunction. Permanent hormonal modifications, during menopause or caused by some endocrine pathologies, could be directly related to sexual dysfunction in some cases but not in all of them. HC use seems to be responsible for a decrease of circulating androgen, estradiol, and progesterone levels, as well as for the inhibition of oxytocin functioning. Hormonal contraceptive use could alter women’s pair-bonding behavior, reduce neural response to the expectation of erotic stimuli, and increase sexual jealousy. There are contradictory results from different studies regarding the association between sexual dysfunction and hormonal contraceptives, so it could be firmly said that additional research is needed. When contraceptive-related female sexual dysfunction is suspected, the recommended therapy is the discontinuation of contraceptives with consideration of an alternative method, such as levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems, copper intrauterine contraceptives, etonogestrel implants, the permanent sterilization of either partner (when future fertility is not desired), or a contraceptive ring.

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          Most cited references58

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          Hormonal predictors of sexual motivation in natural menstrual cycles.

          Little is known regarding which hormonal signals may best predict within- and between-women variance in sexual motivation among naturally cycling women. To address this, we collected daily saliva samples across 1-2 menstrual cycles from a sample of young women; assayed samples for estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone; and also collected daily diary reports of women's sexual behavior and subjective sexual desire. With respect to within-cycle, day-to-day fluctuations in subjective desire, we found evidence for positive effects of estradiol and negative effects of progesterone. Desire exhibited a mid-cycle peak, similar to previous findings; measured progesterone concentrations statistically mediated the fall in desire from mid-cycle to the luteal phase, but no combination of hormone measures substantially mediated the follicular phase rise in desire, which suggests that other signals may be implicated in this effect. Hormonal predictors of within-cycle fluctuations in sexual behavior generally reached only trend levels of statistical significance, though the patterns again suggested positive effects of estradiol and negative effects of progesterone. Between-women and within-women, between-cycle effects of hormone concentrations were generally absent, although statistical power was more limited at these higher levels of analysis. There were no significant effects of testosterone concentrations when controlling for the effects of estradiol and progesterone, which raises questions regarding the importance of this hormone for the regulation of sexual motivation in natural cycles. Our study is among the first to identify hormonal predictors of within-cycle fluctuations in sexual motivation, and thus adds novel evidence regarding the endocrine correlates of human sexuality.
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            New progestagens for contraceptive use.

            The progestins have different pharmacologic properties depending upon the parent molecule, usually testosterone or progesterone (P), from which they are derived. Very small structural changes in the parent molecule may induce considerable differences in the activity of the derivative. In hormonal contraceptives, progestins represent the major agent designed for suppressing ovulation and are used in combination with estrogen (E) usually ethinyl-estradiol (EE). The development of new generations of progestins with improved selectivity profiles has been a great challenge. Steroidal and nonsteroidal progesterone receptor (PR) agonists have been synthesized as well, although the latter are still in a very early stage of development. Several new progestins, have been synthesized in the last two decades. These include dienogest (DNG), drospirenone (DRSP), Nestorone (NES), nomegestrol acetate (NOMAc) and trimegestone (TMG). These new progestins have been designed to have no androgenic or estrogenic actions and to be closer in activity to the physiological hormone P. DRSP differs from the classic progestins as it is derived from spirolactone. It is essentially an antimineralocorticoid steroid with no androgenic effect but a partial antiandrogenic effect. The antiovulatory potency of the different progestins varies. TMG and NES are the most potent progestins synthesized to date, followed by two of the older progestins, keto-desogestrel (keto-DSG) and levonorgestrel (LNG). The new molecules TMG, DRSP and DNG also have antiandrogenic activity. Striking differences exist regarding the side effects among the progestins and the combination with EE leads to other reactions related to the E itself and whether the associated progestin counterbalances, more or less, the estrogenic action. The 19-norprogesterone molecules and the new molecules DRSP and DNG are not androgenic and, therefore, have no negative effect on the lipid profile. Given their pharmacological properties, it is likely that the new progestins may have neutral effects on metabolic or vascular risks. However, this hypothesis must be confirmed in large clinical trials.
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              The effects of hormonal contraceptives on female sexuality: a review.

              Hormonal contraceptives can influence female sexual function.

                Author and article information

                J Clin Med
                J Clin Med
                Journal of Clinical Medicine
                25 June 2019
                June 2019
                : 8
                : 6
                : 908
                [1 ]Psychiatry Service, Institute of Biomedical Research of Salamanca (IBSAL), University Clinical Hospital of Salamanca, Paseo San Vicente, SN 37007 Salamanca, Spain; nmcasado91@ 123456gmail.com (N.M.C.-E.); ruperghost@ 123456gmail.com (R.d.A.); javidelaiglesia.jdli@ 123456gmail.com (J.I.d.l.I.-L.); bertabot@ 123456yahoo.es (B.B.-B.)
                [2 ]Nursing School E.U.E.F., University of Salamanca, Av. Donantes de Sangre SN 37007 Salamanca, Spain
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: amontejo@ 123456usal.es ; Tel.:+34639754620
                Author information
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 12 May 2019
                : 24 June 2019

                female sexual dysfunction,hormonal contraceptive,libido,desire,sex life,orgasm,vaginal ring,depot medroxyprogesterone acetate


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