Sexual function in infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome and unexplained infertility.

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While female sexual dysfunction is a frequent occurrence, characteristics in infertile women are not well delineated. Furthermore, the impact of infertility etiology on the characteristics in women with differing androgen levels observed in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and unexplained infertility has not been assessed.


The objective of the study was to determine the characteristics of sexual dysfunction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and unexplained infertility.


A secondary data analysis was performed on 2 of Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Cooperative Reproductive Medicine Networks clinical trials: Pregnancy in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Study II and Assessment of Multiple Intrauterine Gestations From Ovarian Stimulation. Both protocols assessed female sexual function using the Female Sexual Function Inventory and the Female Sexual Distress Scale.


Women with polycystic ovary syndrome had higher weight and body mass index than women with unexplained infertility (each P < .001), greater phenotypic (Ferriman-Gallwey hirsutism score, sebum score, and acne score; each P < .001), and hormonal (testosterone, free testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone; each P < .001) evidence of androgen excess. Sexual function scores, as assessed by the Female Sexual Function Inventory, were nearly identical. The Female Sexual Distress Scale total score was higher in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The mean Female Sexual Function Inventory total score increased slightly as the free androgen index increased, mainly as a result of the desire subscore. This association was more pronounced in the women with unexplained infertility.


Reproductive-age women with infertility associated with polycystic ovary syndrome and unexplained infertility, despite phenotypic and biochemical differences in androgenic manifestations, do not manifest clinically significant differences in sexual function.

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