Bad news for women going through the menopause, new research suggests that sex gets worse after & # 39; the change & # 39 ;.
A study of more than 4,000 postmenopausal women who were found more than three-quarters was sexually inactive, even if they had a loving partner.
Caring for a sick husband, lack of libido and erectile dysfunction turned out to be the biggest bedroom barriers.
Some blamed the menopause, with night sweats, hot flashes and changes in their body shape that made them intimate.
In fact, only three percent of women said they had regular sex and were satisfied between the sheets, the study found.
A study among 4,000 women after the menopause that three-quarters were sexually inactive (stock)
The research was conducted by the University of Sussex and led by Dr. Helena Harder, a research assistant at Sussex Health Outcomes Research and Education in Cancer.
Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of The North American Menopause Society, who was not involved in the study, said: & # 39; Sexual health problems are common in women as they age.
& # 39; And partner factors play a prominent role in women's sexual activity and satisfaction, including the absence of a partner, sexual dysfunction of a partner, poor physical health of a partner, and relationship problems.
& # 39; In addition, menopausal problems, such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex, have been identified as problems that affect sexual function, yet few women seek these problems despite the availability of effective therapies. & # 39;
Numerous past studies have suggested that both sexual satisfaction and a desire for intimacy decrease after the menopause.
& # 39; The change & # 39; causes a woman's hormone levels to fluctuate, which can lead to anything from vaginal dryness to insomnia and & # 39; vasomotor symptoms & # 39; (VMS).
VMS occurs when blood vessels narrow or dilate, leading to night sweats and hot flashes.
Low self-esteem, mood swings and broken relationships can make post-menopausal women less inclined to be intimate, the researchers wrote in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society.
However, studies have also shown that staying sexually active in old age helps people to become young again & # 39 ;, & # 39; attractive & # 39; and & # 39; desirable & # 39; to be.
The researchers found that there is limited information about sex and aging & # 39; from the perspective of older women & # 39 ;.
They therefore analyzed comments about sex collected during the UK Collaborative Trial or Ovarian Cancer Screening.
About half of the 185,693 post-menopausal women, aged between 50 and 74, were sexually active when screening began in 2001.
During the four years that the screening was in progress, the sexual frequency, pleasure and comfort of the participants decreased.
Of the more than 185,000 women who were initially analyzed, 4,418 were randomly selected for follow-up after receiving & # 39; free-text comments & # 39; in the screening questionnaire.
Of these more than 4,400 women, 2,883 (65 percent) had an & # 39; intimate partner & # 39 ;.
However, the majority (77 percent) were sexually inactive, with only 995 regular sexual intercourse.
Those who had no sex largely blamed their only status (44 percent).
Most of these singletons were widowed (29 percent) and claimed it was difficult to meet men or lose interest after their husbands died.
A 72-year-old said: & # 39; I have been a widow for 17 years. My husband was my childhood sweetheart, there will never be anyone else. & # 39;
Some women claimed to be sexually inactive because of a divorce or divorce (4.2 percent).
A participant, 50, said: & # 39; There is currently no sexual activity because I have no partner.
& # 39; I feel that my role in life right now is to raise my 12-year-old son, relationships come in second place. & # 39;
But many of the women were satisfied with their only status.
A 51-year-old said: & I am 18 years alone, so without sex. I don't miss sex, I don't think about it and I am very satisfied. & # 39;
However, others found it much harder to be alone.
A 64-year-old said: & I have found it very difficult to meet a man since I got divorced. This makes me sad because I would love a good friend. & # 39;
WHAT IS MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is defined as the changes a woman goes through just before and after she stops her period and can no longer become pregnant naturally.
Some women go through this time with few or no symptoms, about 60 percent experience symptoms that lead to behavioral changes and one in four will suffer severely.
Common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness that leads to discomfort during sex, disturbed sleep, reduced sex drive, memory and concentration problems, and mood swings.
Menopause happens when your ovaries no longer produce so much of the hormone estrogen and no longer release an egg every month.
In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51, according to the NHS.
Many of the women (27 percent) with partners did not have sex because of the poor health of their other half.
A woman, 73, said: “My husband has Parkinson's disease and vertebral TB.
& # 39; At the age of 77, he also has dementia and is currently in hospital due to a fall. & # 39;
Other women (13 percent) accused the erectile dysfunction of their partners because of their lack of sex life.
A 57-year-old participant said: & # 39; My husband has a very stressful job and when we make love, he has a problem keeping his erection long enough to satisfy both of us. & # 39;
For 360 (12 percent) of women, menopausal symptoms such as decreased libido and difficulty climaxing them from sex.
A woman, 55, said: Since menopause, an extremely important part of my life, sexual intercourse, has been ruined.
& # 39; This is due to vaginal dryness and spasms, reduction in physical desires (but not mentally) and huge reduction in getting an orgasm and intensity of orgasm & # 39 ;.
Medication was blamed in 204 (seven percent) cases, which some of the men were reluctant to discuss.
A 68-year-old woman said: & # 39; My husband takes tablets that make him impotent or not.
& # 39; At the age of 75 he does not think it is necessary to discuss this with his doctor, I disagree. & # 39;
Despite the fact that many of the participants' partners struggled to get an erection, some couples found other ways to please each other.
A 62-year-old woman said: “My husband has heart problems, so we don't have sex often.
& # 39; We satisfy each other in other ways, which is fine with me. & # 39;
Physical health aside, poor mental well-being also affected much of the participants' sex lives.
Disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as deaths and alcoholism, were a problem for 166 (5.8 percent).
Psychological problems were also mentioned by 44 (1.5 percent) of the participants.
A 57-year-old said: & # 39; I had breast cancer and felt less feminine with the scars and malformations. & # 39;
And relationship problems were the fault of many of the sexually inactive women lacking intimacy.
A 58-year-old woman said: & # 39; Married for more than 36 years, by another & # 39; sticky patch & # 39;
& # 39; No third party is involved, but I don't get sex because of a fight. & # 39;
And about nine percent (257) of women simply saw celibacy as a normal part of aging.
But not everyone allowed their celibacy to influence how close they were to their other half.
A 72-year-old woman said: “He is 82 and has a memory decline.
& # 39; We have had a very good relationship in the past. What is needed now is tolerance, understanding and compassion. & # 39;
In total, only three percent of women claimed to enjoy sex and to be content with the level of intimacy they had.
However, the researchers emphasize that 98 percent of the participants were white and therefore the results often do not reflect the experiences of other racial groups.
The study also included only women who were sufficiently motivated to complete the section with free text comments during ovarian screening.
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