New York: Sexual dysfunction increases by nearly 30 per cent during perimenopause and vaginal dryness most often has the greatest effect on desire, arousal and overall satisfaction, reveals a new study.
For some women, sex becomes less satisfying with age, with a pronounced decline during perimenopause. Women start perimenopause at different ages.
There are many factors that can negatively affect sexual function, including mental and emotional status, ageing, chronic medical problems and menopause status.
Decreasing estrogen levels during the menopause transition cause a variety of biological changes in a woman's body, leading to vaginal atrophy, the thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls.
"This study examined sexual functioning in women aged 40 to 55 years and identified a link between vaginal dryness and worse sexual function.
"Given the high prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women, identifying an eminently treatable contributing factor such as vaginal dryness may allow women to maintain their sexual function during the menopause transition," said Dr Stephanie Faubion, medical director with the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in a paper published in the journal Menopause.
Although previous studies have documented the effect of vaginal atrophy on menopausal women, this new study is one of only a few to assess effect during perimenopause, a transitional time before menopause when the ovaries gradually begin to make less estrogen.
Largely as a result of vaginal dryness, researchers noted that sexual satisfaction scores decreased while sexual dysfunction increased by about 30 per cent during the perimenopause years.