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Birth Control Pills Put Brakes on Women's Sex Drive

Hormonal Contraception Puts Women at Higher Risk of Sexual Dysfunction, Study Finds

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Study co-author Alfred O. Mück, MD, PhD, tells WebMD in an email that any biological mechanisms behind hormonal contraceptive use and sexual dysfunction remain unclear at this point.

“Our study reveals only the association,” Mück says. “Hints at the biological mechanism could be received perhaps in the ongoing study in the future.”

Mück also notes the findings should not deter women from contraception. “Currently, there are no changes in the recommendations. Hormonal contraception is by far the most safe, non-invasive contraceptive method.”

Nazema Y. Siddiqui, MD, an ob-gyn at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., says the study was only observational and does not draw any cause-and-effect conclusions that should sway women toward one contraceptive choice or another. Moreover, she said, the participants selected for this study -- female medical students -- may not necessarily reflect other groups of women.

“You would have to assume that female medical students, who are highly educated and lead stressful lives, may be different than the general population,” Siddiqui tells WebMD in an email. “Therefore, if you are trying to understand the association between hormonal contraception and sexual dysfunction, a more diverse, general population would be preferred to answer this question. Because sex and desire can also be affected by stress, partner-related factors, and medical issues, it is hard to draw sweeping conclusions based on observational data.”

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