Nav: Home

New study pinpoints timing for decline in sexual function over the menopause transition

November 02, 2016

CLEVELAND, Ohio (November 2, 2016)--Although most medical professionals (and their patients) agree that sexual function declines with age, there remains debate about the contribution of menopause to sexual activity and functioning. A new study using data from the Study of Women's Health (SWAN), however, provides a more detailed timetable of sexual decline over the menopause transition. The study is being published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Sexual function data was gathered from nearly 1,400 women who were in either the natural menopause or hysterectomy groups of the SWAN study. No decline in sexual function was documented until 20 months before the final menstrual period. From this time until one year after the final period, sexual function scores decreased by 0.35 annually and continued to decline more than one year afterward but at a slower rate. The decline was smaller in black women and larger in Japanese than in white women. Women who had a hysterectomy before the final menstrual period did not show a decline in sexual function before surgery but did experience a decline afterward. In total, sexual decline persisted for five years after the final menstrual cycle.

Although menopause is often accompanied by such related symptoms as vaginal dryness, depression, and anxiety, these factors did not explain the effect of menopause or surgery on sexual function. The problem of declining sexual function is a serious one, because more than 75% of the middle-aged women in the study reported that sex was moderately to extremely important.

"This study highlights the need for healthcare providers to have open conversations with their patients about their sexual issues, because there are many options for women to help maintain or improve their sexual lives as they transition to and beyond menopause," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. "Low-dose vaginal estrogen, for example, which has minimal risks for most women, is an effective and safe treatment for painful intercourse as is a non-estrogen therapy called ospemifene."
-end-
Founded in 1989, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is North America's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary membership of 2,000 leaders in the field--including clinical and basic science experts from medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy, and education--makes NAMS uniquely qualified to serve as the definitive resource for health professionals and the public for accurate, unbiased information about menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit http://www.menopause.org.

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)

Related Menopause Articles:

Early menopause predictor of heart disease
Women who reach menopause before the age of 50 have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to researchers from The University of Queensland.
Microbes are a key marker of vaginal health during menopause
Certain species of bacteria are actually necessary to maintain vaginal health.
Physical activity may attenuate menopause-associated atherogenic changes
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with a healthier blood lipid profile in menopausal women, but it doesn't seem to entirely offset the unfavorable lipid profile changes associated with the menopausal transition.
Menopause symptoms nearly double the risk of chronic pain
In addition to the other health conditions affected by estrogen, it has also been shown to affect pain sensitivity.
Emotional abuse may be linked with menopause misery
Smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle have long been linked to heightened symptoms of menopause.
Surgical menopause leads to increased sleep issues
Insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, with nearly 20 percent of postmenopausal women reporting sleep disturbances.
Getting relief from sexual dysfunction and incontinence caused by menopause
Microablative fractional CO2 lasers are energy-based devices designed to help manage troublesome menopause symptoms such as painful sex, dryness, itching/burning, urinary frequency, and incontinence.
Taking control of stress and menopause symptoms
It's another one of those chicken-or-the-egg dilemmas ... do bothersome menopause symptoms create stress or does stress bring on menopause symptoms?
Exercise is unrelated to risk of early menopause
The amount of physical activity that women undertake is not linked to their risk of early menopause, according to the largest study ever to investigate this question.
Beluga whales and narwhals go through menopause
Scientists have discovered that beluga whales and narwhals go through the menopause -- taking the total number of species known to experience this to five.
More Menopause News and Menopause Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.