Page last updated at 00:46 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Menopausal sex 'myths' analysed

Woman
More than 2,500 women were questioned during the research

New research has suggested more than 80% of menopausal women still want to have an active sex life.

The study was led by Dr Heather Currie, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

It surveyed more than 2,500 women in a bid to "banish misconceptions" about their attitude towards sex.

Dr Currie said one issue to emerge was a reluctance to discuss the matter and seek treatment which could end up damaging libido and relationships.

The survey was carried out via the physician-led website Menopause Matters.

It aimed to establish the effect of the menopause on women's sex drive.

Dr Currie said 84% of respondents wanted an active sex life - but nearly half found it could become uncomfortable as oestrogen levels dropped.

There is a genuine need to highlight these issues and help both sufferers and health practitioners discuss them openly
Dr Heather Currie

However, the study found 73% of women suffering such problems had not discussed them with a health professional and 92% were not getting any treatment.

"It is clear that women are embarrassed to bring up this issue with their GPs, and health professionals aren't spotting the symptoms," said Dr Currie.

She said such findings were "saddening" as there were "effective, safe treatments readily available".

"Sex is about physical, emotional and mental well-being - the discomfort associated with the menopause can lead to reduced sexual satisfaction and desire," said Dr Currie.

"This in turn leads to a loss of confidence, distress and potential damage not only to sex lives but relationships in general.

"There is a genuine need to highlight these issues and help both sufferers and health practitioners discuss them openly."

The full findings of the study feature in Menopause International published by the Royal Society of Medicine.

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