BACKGROUND: Local estrogen therapy (LET) has beneficial effects on genitourinary atrophy; however it is currently unclear if LET improves sexual function in postmenopausal women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
AIM: To evaluate if LET vs placebo results in an improved sexual function in postmenopausal women with symptomatic POP.
METHODS: We performed a secondary analysis of sexual outcomes of a previous randomized controlled trial comparing LET and placebo in 120 postmenopausal women (60/group) with symptomatic POP stage ≥3 and planned prolapse surgery. Women were randomly assigned to receive local estrogen or placebo cream 6 weeks preoperatively. The effect of therapy vs placebo was assessed with ANOVA with interaction effect of time*group and a multivariable linear regression model was built to assess the impact of different variables on sexual function before therapy.
OUTCOMES: We evaluated the sexual function score in sexually active women of our study population using the German Pelvic Floor Questionnaire at recruitment time and again after 6 weeks of treatment.
RESULTS: Among 120 randomized women, 66 sexually active women remained for final analysis. There was no significant difference in the change of the sexual function score over time between the treatment groups (difference in changes in score from baseline to 6 weeks for Estrogen group vs control group was -0.110 with 95% CI -0.364 to 0.144) Multivariable analysis showed that no independent risk factor for unsatisfying sexual function score could be identified.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Based on our results, LET has no beneficial effect on sexual function in postmenopausal women with POP.
STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS: Main strength of our study lies in the study design and in the use of a condition- specific questionnaire. As this is a secondary analysis, this study may be insufficiently powered to identify differences in sexual data between groups.
CONCLUSION: LET had no impact on female sexuality in postmenopausal women with POP. Marschalek M-L, Bodner K, Kimberger O, et al. Sexual Function in Postmenopausal Women With Symptomatic Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treated Either with Locally Applied Estrogen or Placebo: Results of a Double-Masked, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Trial. J Sex Med 2022;19:1124-1130.
- Estrogens/therapeutic use
- Pelvic Floor
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse/complications
- Sexual Behavior
- Surveys and Questionnaires