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ORIGINAL RESEARCH—FSD PHARMACOTHERAPY: Genistein Supplements Might Not Induce Clitoral Modifications in Postmenopausal Women: A Prospective, Pilot Study


Cesare Battaglia, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti, 13 -40138 Bologna, Bologna 40138, Italy. Tel: +39-051-6364377; Fax: +39-051-6364377; E-mail:


Introduction.  Vaginal dryness, low sexual desire, and low sexual arousability are critical issues for many postmenopausal women. Hormone therapy seems to improve vaginal lubrication and dyspareunia.

Aim.  To evaluate, in postmenopausal women who refused hormonal therapy, the role of genistein in the treatment of vasomotor symptoms and its capacity to induce clitoral volumetric and vascular modifications independently from sexual stimulation.

Methods.  Twenty-nine postmenopausal women who refused hormonal therapy were submitted to oral daily treatment with genistein 45 mg (Group I; N = 15); or no treatment (Group II; N = 14). The Group II patients served as controls. The patients were not randomly assigned to the two groups. The patients were studied before and after 3 months.

Main Outcomes Measures.  Endometrial and clitoral ultrasonographic analysis; color Doppler evaluation of the dorsal clitoral artery; evaluation of hormonal plasma concentrations; administration of the two-factor Italian McCoy Female Sexuality Questionnaire; compilation of a monthly diary reporting the number of hot flashes. The ultrasound, color Doppler and psychometric tests were performed by examiners blinded to the participant's group assignment.

Results.  In the genistein-treated patients the vasomotor symptoms ameliorated at the end of the study. The use of genistein did not influence any other parameter.

Conclusions.  Postmenopausal women submitted to a 3-months treatment with genistein showed an improvement of vasomotor symptoms. However, isoflavones seem to not induce any modification in the clitoral structures. Battaglia C, Cianciosi A, Mancini F, Fabbri R, Busacchi P, Nappi RE, and Venturoli S. Genistein supplements might not induce clitoral modifications in postmenopausal women: A prospective, pilot study. J Sex Med 2009;6:3132–3138.