Vaginal Atrophy Affects Both Men and Women
Clinical Research Forum Launches on ISSM.info
A recent survey examined the ways vaginal atrophy affects both men and women, from sexual discomfort to relationship issues and self-esteem.
The CLOSER survey (CLarifying Vaginal Atrophy's Impact on SEx and Relationships) involved 4,100 women and 4,100 men from nine countries in Europe and North America.
The women were between 55 and 65 years old, were postmenopausal, and had been experiencing vaginal atrophy symptoms such as vaginal dryness, pain, soreness, and bleeding. The men were in sexual relationships with women that fit this description. (The men were not partners with the female survey participants, however.)
Vaginal atrophy is common after menopause. Drops in estrogen levels can cause the vagina to lose some of its elasticity, resulting in tightness, dryness, and discomfort.
Seventy-two percent of the women said they told their partners when they first experienced vaginal discomfort. Those who didn't said they felt embarrassed and that they thought their symptoms were just a part of getting older.
The men were more likely to talk about vaginal atrophy than the women, but they were not always aware that sex was uncomfortable for their partner.
Many women reported feeling upset about vaginal atrophy, saying it made them feel old and unattractive. Some lost confidence as a sexual partner because of it.
Vaginal atrophy caused half of the respondents to have less sex. Almost a quarter stopped having any sex and a majority said they avoided intimacy.
Local estrogen therapy appeared to alleviate symptoms for the women who used it.
The researchers noted that communication between couples and their healthcare providers was an important step in managing vaginal atrophy.
The study was published online in June in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Please click here for more details.
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