Differences in and Correlates of Sexual Function in Infertile Women with and without Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Document Type : Original Article


1 Shahid Akbarabadi Clinical Research Development Unit (ShACRDU), Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran

2 School of Public Health, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran

3 Health Psychology and Behavior Medicine Research Group, Student Scientific Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Psychology and Education, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Background: The aim of this study was to examine sexual function and its correlates among infertile women with
polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in comparison with their non-PCOS counterparts.

Materials and Methods: In this case-control study, 209 infertile women (116 PCOS and 93 non-PCOS) from Tehran,
Iran, were evaluated in February and March 2018. Female sexual function index (FSFI), hormonal status, and documented
reports of hyperandrogenic manifestations of the patients were investigated.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 32.00 ± 5.00 years old. Eighty-four (40.2%) patients including 42.2% of
the PCOS patients and 37.6% of the non-PCOS cases (P>0.05), were suspected of female sexual dysfunction (FSD).
The most impaired functions in both groups were desire and arousal. Sexual function was not significantly different
between the groups. However, PCOS women had more orgasm problems and acne worsened their sexual function. Total
FSFI was positively associated with prolactin level but negatively associated with central obesity in the non-PCOS
group; it was negatively correlated with marital duration in the PCOS group. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and pain, prolactin
level and lubrication, and central obesity and arousal were correlated in the non-PCOS women. Prolactin level
and orgasm, marital duration and arousal, and marital duration and the total FSFI were correlated in the PCOS women.

Conclusion: Sexual function was similarly low in infertile PCOS and non-PCOS women. However, orgasm problems
and the negative effect of acne varied between the two groups. Further investigations may target how hormonal profile
may affect sexual function. Practitioners should scrutinize the specific impaired sexual domains and their correlated
conditions in PCOS women, notably orgasm, acne, and prolactin level. Interventions should be well tailored based on
particular needs of infertile PCOS women.


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