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Factors affecting female sexual well-being: a 5-year follow-up of a randomised clinical trial on post-abortion contraception


Introduction Sexual well-being is associated with general well-being. Several factors, such as overweight, infertility, anxiety and sex hormones, also play a role, but the effects of hormonal contraception remain a point of debate. We characterised the factors associated with sexual well-being in fertile-aged women following induced abortion.

Methods A 5-year follow-up of a nested, longitudinal, cohort study examining the effects of routine provision of intrauterine contraception as part of abortion care. Sexual well-being, anxiety and quality of life were assessed annually using validated questionnaires (McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and EuroQoL), along with data on general and reproductive health, and relationship status. Of the 742 women participating in the trial, 290 (39%) provided sufficient follow-up data and were included in this study.

Results Based on trajectories of McCoy scores across the 5-year follow-up, two groups were identified: those with stable and higher (n=223, 76.9%) and those with declining sexual well-being (n=67, 23.1%). Women in the group of declining sexual well-being had significantly higher levels of anxiety and lower quality of life at all time points. They also had chronic diseases more often and were less happy in their relationships. No differences were found in method of contraception when classified as hormonal versus non-hormonal, or long-acting versus short-acting reversible contraception.

Conclusions Lower anxiety and higher quality of life are associated with stable and higher sexual well-being. Method of contraception or relationship status are not associated with sexual well-being during long-term follow-up in fertile-aged women.

  • hormonal contraception
  • Sexual Health
  • abortion, induced
  • surveys and questionnaires

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request and appropriate approvals and agreement. The authors are willing to share anonymous participant data. Possible data are available from the corresponding author Oskari Heikinheimo (

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