Many of us enjoy having sex, which isn't a surprise. However, for women, it can become less appealing as they get older. It’s been said that as women age their sex drive starts to decline, but this isn't necessarily because they’re not interested in making love with their partner. Instead, new research shows it might be because of the physical pain they could face during intimacy, which puts them off the whole idea.
The study will soon be presented at The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting. The findings suggest that postmenopausal women tend to avoid sex if they have any vulvovaginal atrophy or suffer from lower urinary tract problems.
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) is the term used to describe the uncomfortable vaginal and bladder problems experienced by menopausal women, which often affect sex. GSM includes irritating symptoms such as dryness, burning, an urgent need to go to the bathroom in the middle of intercourse, and lack of lubrication during sex.
In the study, vulvovaginal atrophy and bladder problems were found to play a part in negative sexual experiences. The research involved over 1,500 women who took part in a survey on their sexual behavior. About 20 percent of these women were affected by uncomfortable pain which limited the number of times they were in the mood for intimacy, while 9 percent said they avoided sex due to bladder problems.
“Our findings underscore the need to further expand the sexual history after a woman reports that she is not currently sexually active," said lead author Amanda Clark, from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, in a statement.
Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, from NAMS, added that the results show why there needs to be "an open and honest discussion with peri- and postmenopausal women” in order for them to receive the right medical treatment.
GSM is still a fairly new term. It was created in 2014 by the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and the North American Menopause Society. The matter can affect more than sex, as it can lead to unpleasant symptoms like a burning sensation when passing urine.
When estrogen levels decrease, a woman can experience changes in her vagina and other parts of her body. The more estrogen a woman has, the moister her vagina is, but as estrogen decreases, like it does during the menopause, the opposite effect occurs.