Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 171–183 | Cite as

Sexual function in women with hypothalamo-pituitary disorders

  • Birgitta Hulter
  • P. O. Lundberg


The extent to which hypothalamo-pituitary disorders in women affect sexual desire and sexual functions was investigated. Sexual functions and sexual appreciation were assessed in a comprehensive interview of 48 women with well-defined hypothalamo-pituitary disorders. Data about sex life were correlated to blood hormone levels and diagnosis. In most of the women (64.8%), the first clinical symptom indicating a hypothalamo-pituitary dysfunction began in the age group 16 to 35. In 43 patients (89.6%), the initial symptom was menstrual irregularities. Altogether 45 (93.8%) of the women declared that they had or had had significant sexual problems. Two of the three women who did not report sexual problems had never had intercourse. Thirty-eight (79.2%) of the women had developed a lack of or a considerable decrease in sexual desire. Problems with lubrication or orgasm were reported by 31 (64.6%) and 33 (68.7%) of the women, respectively. Normal menstrual pattern, young age, and intrasellar tumor growth correlated better with normal sexual desire and sexual functions than did normal prolactin levels and normal testosterone levels. However, at the time of interview, only 7 women had hyperprolactinemia. Serum testosterone values correlated significantly only with masturbation.

Key words

female sexuality menstruation hypothalamo-pituitary disorders testosterone prolactin 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abplanalp, J. M., Rose, R. M., Donnelly, A. F., and Livingston-Vaughan, L. (1979). Psychoendocrinology of the menstrual cycle: II. The relationship between enjoyment of activities, moods and reproductive hormones.Psychosom. Med. 41: 605–615.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bakay, L. (1950). Results of 300 pituitary adenoma operations.J. Neurosurg. 7: 240–255.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bancroft, J., Sanders, D., Davidson, D., and Warner, P. (1983). Mood, sexuality, hormones, and the menstrual cycle. III. Sexuality and the roles of androgens.Psychosom. Med. 45: 509–516.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Batzdorf, U., and Stern, W. E. (1973). Clinical manifestations of pituitary adenomas: A pilot study using computer analysis. In Koler, P. O., and Ross, G. T. (eds.),Pituitary Tumors Exerpta Medica, Amsterdam, p. 17.Google Scholar
  5. Buckman, M. T., and Kellner R. (1985). Reduction of distress in hyperprolactinemia with bromocriptine.Am. J. Psychiat. 142: 242–244.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Buvat, J. (1982). Influence de l'hyperprolactinémie primaire sur le comportement sexuel humain.Nouv. Presse Med. 11: 3561–3563.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell, S., and Whitehead, M. (1977). Oestrogen therapy and the menopausal syndrome.Clin. Obstet. Gynecol. 4: 31–47.Google Scholar
  8. Carter, J. N., Tyson, J. E., Tolis, G., van Vliet, S., Faiman, C., and Friesen, H. (1978). Prolactin-secreting tumors and hypogonadism in 22 men.New Engl. J. Med. 299: 847–852.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Coope, J. J. (1976). Double blind cross-over study of estrogen replacement therapy. In Campbell, S. (ed.),The Management of the Menopause and Post-Menopausal Years University Park Press, Baltimore, pp. 159–168.Google Scholar
  10. Cutler, W. B., Garcia, C-R., Huggins, G. R., and Preti, G. (1986). Sexual behavior and steroid levels among gynecologically mature premenopausal women.Fertil. Steril. 45: 496–502.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidson, J. M., Camargo, C. A., and Smith, E. R. (1979). Effects of androgen on sexual behavior in hypogonadal men.J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 48: 955–958.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Fischer, P-A. (1963).Hypophysenadenome Ferdinand Enke Verlag, Stuttgart.Google Scholar
  13. Franks, S., Jacobs., H. S., Martin, N., and Nabarro, J. D. N. (1978). Hyperprolactinemia and impotence.Clin. Endocrinol. 8: 277–287.Google Scholar
  14. Fürst, E. (1966). On chromophobe pituitary adenomas.Acta Med. Scand. Suppl. 452: 1–111.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Gooren, L. J. G. (1987). Androgen levels and sex function in testosterone-treated hypogonadal men.Arch. Sex. Behav. 16: 463–473.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Heimbach, S. B. (1959). Follow-up studies on 105 cases of verified chromophobe and acidophile pituitary adenomata after treatment by transfrontal operation and x-ray irradiation.Acta Neurochir. 7: 101–155.Google Scholar
  17. Hipkin, L. J., Diver, M. J., and Davis, J. C. (1986). The relationship between plasma prolactin and testosterone levels in male hypogonadism.J. Endocrinol. Invest. 9: 453–457.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hulting, A. L., Muhr, C., Lundberg, P. O., and Werner, S. (1985). Prolactinomas in men: Clinical characteristics and the effect of bromocriptine treatment.Acta Med. Scand. 217: 101–109.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Lundberg, P. O., Drettner, B., Hemmingsson, A., Stenkvist, B., and Wide, L. (1977). The invasive pituitary adenoma. A prolactin-producing tumor.Arch. Neurol. 34: 742–749.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Lundberg, P. O., Muhr, C., Hulter, B., Brattberg, A., and Wide, L. (1986). Sexual libido in patients with hypothalamopituitary disorders. In Kothari, P. (ed.),Proceedings of the 7th World Congress of Sexology, New Delhi, pp. 126–128.Google Scholar
  21. Lundberg, P. O., and Wide, L. (1978). Sexual function in males with pituitary tumors.Fertil. Steril. 29: 175–179.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Muhr, C., Hulting, A-L., Lundberg, P. O., and Werner, S. (1985). Pituitary adenomas with hyperprolactinemia in males. In Auer, L. M., Leb, L. G., Tscherne, G., Urdl, W., and Walter, G. F. (eds.),Prolactinomas. An Interdisciplinary Approach de Gruyter, New York, pp. 169–178.Google Scholar
  23. Nagulesparen, M., Ang, V., and Jenkins, J. S. (1978). Bromocriptine treatment of males with pituitary tumours, hyperprolactinemia, and hypogonadism.Clin. Endocrinol. 9: 73–79.Google Scholar
  24. Persky, H., Charney, N., Lief, H. I., O'Brien, C. P., Miller, W. R., and Strauss, D. (1978). The relationship of plasma estradiol level to sexual behavior in young women.Psychosom. Med. 40: 523–535.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Roeder, F., Müller, D., and Orthner, H. (1971). Weitere Erfahrungen mit der stereotaktischen Behandlung sexueller Perversionen.J. Neuro-Visceral Rel. Suppl. 10: 317–324.Google Scholar
  26. Sherwin, B. (1985). Changes in sexual behavior as a function of plasma sex steroid levels in post-menopausal women.Maturitas 7: 225–233.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Sherwin, B., Gelfand, M. M., and Brender, W. (1985). Androgen enhances sexual motivation in females: A prospective, crossover study of sex steroid administration in the surgical menopause.Psychosom. Med. 47: 339–351.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Wide, L. (1969). Radioimmunoassays employing immunosorbents.Acta Endocrinol. 142 (Suppl.): 207–221.Google Scholar
  29. Younghusband, O. Z., Horrax, G., Hurxthal, L. M., Hare, H. F., and Poppen, J. L. (1952). Chromophobe pituitary tumors. I. Diagnosis.J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 12: 611–630.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birgitta Hulter
    • 1
  • P. O. Lundberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyAkademiska sjukhusetUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations