Why Women Lose Interest in Sex
Putting the Desire Back in Women's Sex Lives continued...
For example, Shrifen is involved in research using a
testosterone skin patch to treat low sexual desire in women. Initial studies
have shown that the patch significantly improved both sexual desire and
satisfaction compared with placebo among postmenopausal women who had their
She says a phase III clinical trial of the testosterone patch
involving several thousand women worldwide is currently wrapping up, and
results should be published soon. For the first time, this study looks at the
effect of the testosterone patches in naturally menopausal women as well as
those who have undergone surgical or early menopause caused by chemotherapy or
removal of their ovaries.
No Miracle Love Potion No. 9
When evaluating treatments for sexual problems, experts say
it's important to recognize that there is an especially large placebo effect,
which is based upon the user's expectations of the treatment. That's why drugs
must be tested against a placebo (sugar pill) in order to scientifically
measure their effect.
It also helps explain why many supplements claim to be
effective in treating sexual problems, such as low sexual desire. Because
expectations play such a large role in sexual desire, over-the-counter products
may claim that they're effective, but it's likely just a placebo effect.
"It's really important for women to realize that any of the
over-the-counter products they may use have not been tested for efficacy and
safety," says Shifren.
More Research on Women's Sexual Issues Underway
Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, president of the Society for Women's
Health Research says more women report sexual problems than men, but research
and treatment for women's sexual problems still lags behind.
"For example, from 1990 to 1999, nearly 5,000 studies were
published on male sexual function, but there were only 2,000 women's
studies," says Greenberger.
But experts say research into women's sexual function is slowly
catching up in the post-Viagra era.
"This is one of first times we've seen really high quality
studies for sexual dysfunction in women," Shifren tells WebMD. She says
that until recently, the only studies on women's sexual issues were very small,
often short-term, and rarely well designed.
"I think it's very exciting, not only that we're hoping to
have more products available for women, but that the studies are going on and
they are well-designed studies," says Shifren. "It's really a good