HealthDay News — Twelve months of daily oral hormonal replacement therapy with estradiol plus dihydrogesterone (HRT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) or tibolone improves sexual function and frequency in early postmenopausal women, study findings published in the December issue of Climacteric indicates.

Andrea R. Genazzani, MD, PhD, from the University of Pisa in Italy, and colleagues investigated the effects of different types of HRTs on sexual function, sexual intercourse frequency and relationship quality in 48 early postmenopausal women with climacteric symptoms (mean age, 54.5 ± 3.3 years).

The researchers randomly assigned participants to receive 12 months of either DHEA, HRT or tibolone. Vitamin D was given to the women who refused hormonal therapy. They evaluated participants’ hormonal profile before treatment and at three, six and 12 months after treatment and administered the McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire at baseline and again 12 months after treatment to evaluate efficacy.

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The investigators found that the participants receiving DHEA or HRT reported significant sexual function improvement compared to baseline (based on McCoy total score), with similar relationship quality at baseline, and after three, six and 12 months of treatment. In women treated with DHEA, HRT and tibolone, the number of sexual intercourse episodes in the previous four weeks increased significantly compared to baseline values. Women who were taking vitamin D showed no changes in the McCoy score.

“All hormone treatments used (DHEA, HRT and tibolone) improved the quality of sexual life in postmenopausal women, supporting the hypothesis that hormonal changes, during reproductive aging, negatively affect sexual function,” the researchers wrote.

Genazzani AR et al. Climacteric. 2011;14:661-668.