Enjoy Your Menopause!

September 25, 2008

And the Survey Says….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Beverly Mahone @ 4:58 pm
Tags: , ,

Sexual problems plague more women than men as they age and they’re less prepared to deal with changes that curtail their sex lives, a survey found.

The questionnaire given to 705 U.S. adults ages 50 to 70 found 71 percent believed sex lives decline as they age. Most blamed men’s difficulties. In reality, 67 percent of women reported pain and discomfort that interfered with intimacy, compared with 59 percent of men who had sexual problems.

Women’s age-related sex problems often stem from a lack of estrogen during menopause, said researcher David Schwartz, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati who helped conduct the survey. During mid-life, women’s ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen, which can lead to a thinning and dryness of the vagina. While lubricants can ease dryness, they don’t stop pain that can accompany intercourse, he said.

Pain Problems
“If the vagina is very, very thin, even with extra lubrication there will be pain,” Schwartz said. “The nerve endings are going to be more sensitive to touch or movement, and it will be painful rather than sensations of enjoyment.” Women are often surprised at pain associated with intercourse. They also may think it’s a normal part of aging. That’s not true. “If there is pain, a woman isn’t going to feel passionate,” she said. “In many cases, women suffer in silence, just the way men used to with erectile dysfunction. Treatment can work wonders.”

Treatments include estrogen creams, pills and rings, which replace some of the lost estrogen. Women may need the therapies as long as they’re having sex, and they should take the lowest possible dose to reduce side effects, Schwartz said.

The findings don’t mean men are off the hook, said Bob Berkowitz, a relationship expert who was a consultant on the survey. They need to talk to their partners about their sex lives and what to expect, he said. While 47 percent of men and women in the survey said they wanted sex more often, most who were intimate at least once a month said they were satisfied.

Talking Helps

“Men are clueless when it comes to female sexuality,” Berkowitz said. It’s incumbent on couples to sit down and talk about this. They need to find the courage.”

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