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Aromatase Inhibitors Linked to Low Sexual Desire, Bowel Problems

Feb 19, 2018

About 30% of AI users and 16% of non-users also had fecal incontinence (problems with bowel movements and leaking feces). However, both AI users and non-users had similar results for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

It was unclear whether other factors, like vulvar and vaginal atrophy, could have influenced the results. Vulvar and vaginal atrophy is caused by low estrogen levels at menopause and can lead to sexual pain and other issues. It’s possible that treatment for conditions like this might improve sexual symptoms for women who take AIs, but more research is necessary.

Still, the authors concluded that doctors should consider the sexual health of breast cancer survivors, even if many years have passed since their diagnosis.


“Aromatase Inhibitors”

(Last modified: July 20, 2016)

“Understanding Hormone Receptors and What They Do”

(Last modified: January 26, 2017)

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Robinson, Penelope J., MBiostat, et al.

“Aromatase Inhibitors Are Associated With Low Sexual Desire Causing Distress and Fecal Incontinence in Women: An Observational Study”

(Full-text. Published online: October 21, 2017)

Mayo Clinic

“Fecal incontinence”

(January 5, 2018)

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