The effect of female hormones on dopamine release: a comprehensive review

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Chaitali Nath



Sexual function is a complex interplay of physiological, psychological, and neurobiological factors. Among these, dopamine, a monoamine neurotransmitter synthesized in the brain's substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area, plays a critical role in regulating various aspects of human behavior, including sexual function. Dopamine operates within the limbic system, encompassing structures like the amygdala, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens, which are central to emotional responses, motivation, and reward-related behaviors.


This study aims to explore dopamine's influence on sexual function, specifically focusing on its role in motivation, emotional aspects, and physiological components. Additionally, it seeks to investigate gender-specific variations in dopamine's impact on sexual function.


This study employed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis approach to identify relevant studies. Searches were conducted in MEDLINE, Embase, ProQuest, and Scopus, utilizing criteria related to sex, intervention, comparison, and outcome. The study also assessed the risk of bias and evaluated the diagnostic value of selected studies.


The findings indicate that dopamine plays a pivotal role in sexual function by influencing motivation, emotional responses, and physiological processes. Increased dopamine transmission within the limbic system, particularly in the nucleus accumbens, is associated with heightened sexual desire and arousal. Moreover, dopamine within the amygdala modulates emotional responses to sexual stimuli, potentially enhancing the overall sexual experience. Dysregulation of dopamine can impact the release of nitric oxide, contributing to sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction. Gender-specific differences in dopamine's regulation of sexual function were observed.


In conclusion, this study highlights the multifaceted role of dopamine in sexual function. It influences motivation, emotional aspects, and physiological components of sexual response. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for addressing sexual dysfunction and tailoring interventions to gender-specific needs. Further research in this area is warranted to explore the intricate interplay between dopamine and gender-specific behaviors in greater depth.

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