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Sexual functioning throughout menopause: the perceptions of women in a British cohort.

Mishra, G; Kuh, D; (2006) Sexual functioning throughout menopause: the perceptions of women in a British cohort. Menopause , 13 (6) pp. 880-890. 10.1097/01.gme.0000228090.21196.bf.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies on menopausal transition and sexual functioning have mixed findings. Most are cross-sectional, exclude hormone therapy users and hysterectomized women, and are unable to separate the effects of age from menopause or account for psychosocial, vasomotor, and somatic factors. We examine relationships between women's reports of a change in sex life and difficulties with intercourse and their experience of menopausal transition, use of hormone therapy, and hysterectomy. DESIGN: A British cohort study with 1,525 women were followed since their birth in 1946 and annually from age 47 to 54 years. The outcome measures were self-reported change in sex life and difficulties with sexual intercourse over 8 consecutive years. RESULTS: Compared with women who remained premenopausal, peri- and postmenopausal women reported a decline in sex life (mean difference [95% CI]: perimenopausal, -0.1 [-0.2 to -0.03]; became postmenopausal, -0.1 [-0.2 to -0.1]) and were more likely to report difficulties with intercourse (perimenopausal, 0.6 [0.1 to 1.1]; postmenopausal, 1.0 [0.5 to 1.5]) beyond the effects of aging and other psychosomatic factors. Women reported difficulties with intercourse more often if they had been on hormone therapy for more than a year (0.5 [0.03 to 1.0]) or if they had undergone a hysterectomy (0.6 [0.1 to 1.1]); no differences were found for change in sex life. For both outcomes, vaginal dryness was the major risk factor. Married women were also more likely to report adverse outcomes. Somatic symptoms and hot flushes/cold sweats were associated with difficulties with intercourse, whereas psychological symptoms, stressful lives, increasing age, and smoking were associated with a decline in sex life. CONCLUSIONS: Menopausal transition status had an independent effect on the reported change in sex life and difficulties with intercourse. The results support health professionals in their development of management strategies that (a) consider treatments directly for vaginal dryness, (b) identify somatic symptoms for difficulties with intercourse, (c) investigate psychological factors for a reported decline in sex life, and (d) for both outcomes, consider the potential role of intimate partners.

Type: Article
Title: Sexual functioning throughout menopause: the perceptions of women in a British cohort.
Location: United States
DOI: 10.1097/01.gme.0000228090.21196.bf
Keywords: Adult, Age Distribution, Aging, Coitus, Dyspareunia, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Life Change Events, Longitudinal Studies, Menopause, Middle Aged, Sexual Behavior, Stress, Psychological, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom, Vaginal Diseases
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/55733
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