BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Hormonal birth control is different from that of 30 years ago but even with lower hormonal levels many of the same problems remain, U.S. researchers say.
Lead researcher Nicole Smith, a doctoral student and project coordinator at Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion, and colleagues examined how newer forms of hormonal contraception affect things such as arousal, lubrication and orgasm.
"Contraception in general is a wonderful way for women to plan their families," Smith said in a statement. "It's something women are often on for as many as 30 years or more; it plays a huge part in their life. If they're experiencing these negative effects, they might stop using contraception correctly or altogether. They need to know that there are options, such as lubricants or other sexual enhancement products that may help to alleviate some of the negative effects they are experiencing."
The study involved 1,101 sexually active women, split almost evenly between those using a hormonal form of contraception -- such as the pill, patch, ring or shot -- and those women using a non-hormonal form, such as a condom, diaphragm, cervical cap or withdrawal.
The study, based on data collected by the Kinsey Institute's Women's Well-being study, found the women reported similar levels of sexual satisfaction -- which included things such as intimacy and romance -- but the women using hormonal contraception experienced less arousal, fewer orgasms, difficulties with lubrication, decreased pleasure and less frequent sex.
Smith is discussing her study at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Washington.