Introduction: The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is 10–15% in women of reproductive age. Its characteristics are (i) clinical or biochemical hyperandrogenism, (ii) oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea, and (iii) polycystic ovaries on ultrasound. PCOS is associated with lower quality of life, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Treatment commonly entails oral contraceptive use to lower endogenous androgen levels. Androgen levels and comorbidities may affect sexual function. Previous studies have addressed a limited range of possible contributing factors. We will assess sexual function as well as genital and self-reported sexual arousal in a laboratory setting in women with PCOS compared to an age-matched healthy control group. Modulation by biopsychosocial factors mentioned will be studied. Methods: This is a multicenter prospective case control study. The study population includes healthy women with and without PCOS, aged 18–40 years, in a stable heterosexual relationship for at least 6 months. Power is calculated at 67 participants in each group. Anticipating a drop out of 10%, 150 participants will be recruited. Main outcome measures: The main outcomes measured are sexual function using the Female Sexual Function Index, Sexual Desire Inventory, and Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised; genital sexual arousal measured as vaginal pulse amplitude; and self-reported sexual arousal in response to erotic stimuli in a laboratory setting. The mediators that will be investigated include testosterone, free androgen levels, oral contraceptive use, sensitivity to androgens (using CAG repeat length), body mass index, body image, mental health, and self-esteem. Conclusion: Strengths of this study are the inclusion of a broad range of biopsychosocial outcome measures including DNA analysis, a healthy control group, and standardized assessment of genital and self-reported sexual arousal in a laboratory setting. With the design of this study we aim to provide an insight into which biopsychosocial factors associated with PCOS are related to sexual function, and how sexual function may be affected by treatment. These new insights may help to improve clinical management of PCOS while improving the quality of life. Pastoor H, Both S, Timman R, et al. Sexual Function in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Design of an Observational Prospective Multicenter Case Control Study. Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX–XXX.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Androgens, Female Sexual Dysfunction, Female Sexual Function, PCOS, Photoplethysmography, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2020.07.002, hdl.handle.net/1765/129561
Journal Sexual Medicine
Citation
Pastoor, H, Both, S. (Stephanie), Timman, R, Laan, E, & Laven, J.S.E. (2020). Sexual Function in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Design of an Observational Prospective Multicenter Case Control Study. Sexual Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.esxm.2020.07.002