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A longitudinal study of the effects of free testosterone and other psychosocial variables on sexual function during the natural traverse of menopause
Obstetrics and Gynecology Publications and Presentations
  • Judith R. Gerber, University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • Julia V. Johnson, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Janice Y. Bunn, University of Vermont
  • Susan L. O'Brien, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Publication Date
Document Type
Attitude to Health; Exercise; Female; Humans; Life Style; Longitudinal Studies; Menopause; Middle Aged; Patient Satisfaction; Prospective Studies; Psychology; Quality of Life; Questionnaires; Sexuality; Testosterone

OBJECTIVE: This study examines the effect of free T levels on sexual function during the natural traverse of menopause. Other psychosocial variables, which may also contribute to change in sexual function, are studied-including participant's job satisfaction, satisfaction with financial resources, confidence in ability to manage symptoms, stressful life events, exercise, body image, and quality of personal relationships.

DESIGN: Prospective clinical study.

SETTING: Clinical research center, university hospital.

PATIENT(S): Fifty-seven women between the ages of 45 and 55 years were enrolled at the beginning of the study. Thirty-seven women completed all but the final measurement of free T and 23 completed all aspects of the study at year 1 and year 5.

INTERVENTION(S): Questionnaires were administered and blood samples obtained in year 1 and year 5.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Free T, sexual satisfaction, and other psychosocial variables.

RESULT(S): Exercise is the only variable significantly associated with sexual satisfaction. There was a lack of association between free T and sexual satisfaction both at year 1 and year 5.

CONCLUSION(S): Focus on the hormonal aspects of menopause has promoted a disregard of other important psychosocial factors affecting sexual function. This study shows no correlation between T levels and sexual function, whereas exercise is clearly associated with sexual satisfaction. A key area for future research is the effect of lifestyle changes on sexual function in menopausal women.

DOI of Published Version

Fertil Steril. 2005 Mar;83(3):643-8. Link to article on publisher's site


At the time of publication, Julia Johnson was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Judith R. Gerber, Julia V. Johnson, Janice Y. Bunn and Susan L. O'Brien. "A longitudinal study of the effects of free testosterone and other psychosocial variables on sexual function during the natural traverse of menopause" Vol. 83 Iss. 3 (2005) ISSN: 0015-0282 (Linking)
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