Menopause: Sexual Dysfunction is Common with Aromatase Inhibitors


New studies have indicated that aromatase inhibitors are better than tamoxifen in the prevention of cancer from reoccurring in post-menopausal women. The female hormone estrogen is known to encourage hormone-sensitive breast cancer cells to divide thus increasing the chance that cancer will reoccur.

Menopause: Sexual Dysfunction is Common with Aromatase Inhibitors

Aromatase inhibitors like letrozole work by preventing the body from making estrogen while tamoxifen just blocks the effect of estrogen on cells. The problem with the new treatment is that sexual dysfunction is common with aromatase inhibitors like letrozole. This includes low interest, sexual difficulties, poor lubrication and pain with intercourse.

According to authors of a published study on Menopause which is the North American Menopause Society’s popular journal, the problem is very important but it is underestimated. However, researchers are now looking into the problem since it is affecting many patients’ lives.

The Study

The researchers in Sweden’s Örebro University and Uppsala University performed a study regarding the impact of aromatase inhibitors on sexuality in postmenopausal women. About 75% of the subjects noted experiencing insufficient lubrication, more than 55% experienced pain with intercourse and about 40% were generally dissatisfied with their sex life.

Additionally, half noted that their sexual interest was low while on aromatase inhibitors. This lead to the conclusion that sexual dysfunction is common with aromatase inhibitors. What’s interesting here is that the percentages were considerably higher compared to postmenopausal women not under breast cancer treatment.

And although women who were being treated with tamoxifen for breast cancer also experienced sexual dysfunction, they had significantly lower difficulties compared to those who were being treated with aromatase inhibitors. This is why some women still prefer tamoxifen treatment although it is not as effective as aromatase inhibitors.

The researchers are currently performing more intensive studies regarding the causes and impacts of the sexual dysfunction problem on patients. This is in order to improve the quality of life of breast cancer survivors. However, more and more doctors are prescribing the use of aromatase inhibitors for the prevention of the recurrence of breast cancer and increasing survival rate. The fact that sexual dysfunction is common with aromatase inhibitors is a side effect that patients have to bear for now.


Researchers are now looking into solutions to the sexual dysfunction problem caused by aromatase inhibitors. Some patients have noted that simple solutions like using lubricants during sex can get rid of the problem. However, patients suffering from low interest in sex still haven’t found a solution to the problem.

Hopefully more researchers will be performed to find a way around this problem. Although more women still prefer using aromatase inhibitors like letrozolesince these are more effective compared to tamoxifen. After all, living longer is obviously more important that having a good sex life.

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