By: Amanda Anderson
Sure, there are new forms of birth control popping up every minute. Some end up being taken off the shelf for their extreme health risks (remember the Patch actually killed someone?), but that won’t stop scientists from thinking of new ways to keep Motherhood at bay for women who just aren’t quite ready for children. And while we have seen some birth control methods come and go, birth control pills have remained one of the most popular contraceptives.
The study indicates that women who use hormonal contraception such as birth control pills could be at risk of developing sexual problems than women who use non-hormonal contraception.
Dr. Harald Seeger, co-author of the study says:
“In general, hormonal contraceptives are well-tolerated and are the best noninvasive method to prevent pregnancy.”
Seeger believes that they study shows a link that hormonal based birth control and many other factors cause sexual problems in women.
The study evaluated 1,086 women. Most of these women were in stable relationships with the same partner for six months before answering questions involving their sex lives and contraceptive practices.
The study revealed that about 33 percent of the participants were at risk of developing sexual dysfunction. Symptoms of female sexual dysfunction include lack of desire, orgasm, lubrication, satisfaction, and arousal.
When it comes to contraceptive use, 87 percent of the participants had used contraceptives in the last six months and more than 97 percent have been sexually active in the last four weeks.
69.5 percent of the women used oral contraceptives, 22.5 percent used condoms, while only 7.3 percent used a contraceptive ring. Others used fertility awareness, a contraceptive implant, intrauterine methods or other methods.
Women who used non-hormonal contraceptives such as condoms were at lower risks of developing female sexual dysfunction. Right behind those who used condoms, were those who use no form of birth control and they are less likely to undergo sexual problems. Those at highest risk are the participants who use non-oral forms of hormonal contraception, with the who use oral forms of hormonal contraception following right behind in risk.
When the researchers looked at both groups of hormonal contraceptive takers, their results showed that both groups are at high risk of having arousal and desire problems.
What can be the cause? Researchers aren’t quite sure, but they do believe that a lack of androgens could be responsible since low levels of androgens causes low levels of testosterone which is needed to stimulate desire.
The researchers believe that this provides more reasons as to why physicians should talk to their patients about the various forms of birth control, as well as the side effects. Dr. Irwin Goldstein says:
“From my point of view, this is more evidence that physicians should spend one extra minute [to tell patients], ‘If you want contraception and want to use the oral pill, it may affect your sexual functioning.'”