Sexuality in premature ovarian insufficiency

R. E. Nappi, L. Cucinella, E. Martini, M. Rossi, L. Tiranini, S. Martella, D. Bosoni, C. Cassani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sexuality in women with spontaneous premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) deserves attention because of the young age and the distressing impact of such a life-changing diagnosis. Biomedical and psychosocial factors work in concert to determine significant changes of sexual function. Early hormonal deprivation gives origin to symptomatic vulvovaginal atrophy and contributes to hypoactive sexual desire disorder modulating central and peripheral circuitries, which regulate sexual response. Emotional and cognitive adjustment to the short-term and long-term consequences of POI may further determine negative attitudes toward sexuality. It is essential to counsel POI women on every aspect of their life, from menopausal symptoms to fertility concerns, from health risks to potential therapeutic solutions. The biopsychosocial perspective is the best approach to manage sexual symptoms, including tailored hormone therapy and focused counseling. Pharmacotherapies specifically investigated in spontaneous POI conditions are lacking and clinical judgment has to guide the choice of treatment, which must be continued at least until the average age at natural menopause according to the most recent guidelines. Further studies are needed to better characterize POI women and to understand the effective role of novel therapeutic strategies, including androgens and cognitive-behavioral and sexual interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-295
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2019


  • androgens
  • counseling
  • estrogens
  • female sexual dysfunction
  • female sexual function
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency
  • psychosexual therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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