British women 50 percent less likley to recieve treatment for common menopausal symptoms

June 19, 2013

New data, published today in Menopause International, suggests that post-menopausal women in Britain are experiencing less sex, and less satisfying sex compared to their European and North American counterparts1, because they are considerably less likely to access appropriate treatment for a common, taboo condition called vaginal atrophy1.

The first-of-its-kind study, called the CLarifying vaginal atrophy's impact On and Relationships (CLOSER) study, showed that British post-menopausal with vaginal atrophy are more likely to experience less sex1, and less satisfying sex, compared to other women in Europe and North America (67% and 61% vs 58% and 49% overall, respectively)1. Fear of painful sex was one of the main reasons women avoided intimacy (63%)1, with almost one third of women (30%) and (29%) saying that vaginal discomfort had caused a "big problem" for their sex lives1.

Despite over one and a half million women across the UK potentially experiencing this problem2,4, British women in CLOSER were 50% less likely (21% versus 41% overall) to receive local oestrogen treatment, compared to women from other countries1.

"Given the obvious impact of vaginal atrophy on women in the UK, and their partners, it is very sad to learn that we are lagging behind other in terms of ensuring appropriate access to treatment," commented Dr Heather Currie, co-author of the study and Associate Specialist at the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, founder of menopausematters.co.uk and Honorary Secretary of the British Menopause Society. "It is our hope that the CLOSER study will encourage our fellow medical professionals, and women themselves, to routinely raise the topic of post-menopausal vaginal health, thereby facilitating appropriate diagnosis and treatment."

Vaginal atrophy is a chronic condition caused by a drop in oestrogen levels, with symptoms including , itching and painful intercourse5. The condition can have a significant emotional impact, as well as on quality of life, and can lead to serious long-term urogenital problems if left untreated (e.g. incontinence)6.

Local oestrogen, the preferred treatment for vaginal atrophy according to The British Menopause Society7, is applied directly to the vagina while, in systemic hormone therapy, the hormones travel around the entire body7. As vaginal atrophy is a , treatment needs to be continued to maintain the benefits7.

"More than two-thirds (68%) of British women in CLOSER used lubricants and moisturisers to treat their vaginal symptoms, but these are not as effective as oestrogen therapy as they do not treat the underlying cause," explained Dr Nick Panay, co-author and Consultant Gynaecologist, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea and Chelsea & Westminster Hospitals, London, and Immediate Past Chair of the British Menopause Society. "Local oestrogen offers women a well-tolerated and effective solution to vaginal atrophy which, as the CLOSER study illustrates, can significantly disrupt many relationships."

British women who had tried local oestrogen for vaginal atrophy reported beneficial effects such as less painful sex (58%)8, more satisfying sex for their partner (42%)8 and themselves (40%)8, feeling closer and less isolated from their partner (33%)8, having sex more often (27%)8, and saying that they now look forward to having sex (26%)8.

Explore further: Treatment helps sex stage a comeback after menopause

More information: References

1. Domoney C, Currie H, Panay N, Maamari R, Nappi RE. The CLOSER survey: impact of postmenopausal vaginal discomfort on women and male partners in the UK. Menopause International. June 2013; 19(2):69-76.

2. Nappi RE, Kokot-Kierepa M. Vaginal health: Insights, Views and Attitudes (VIVA) – results from an international survey. Climacteric. February 2012;15:36-44.

3. Cardozo L, Bachmann G, McClish D, Fonda D, Birgerson L. Meta-analysis of estrogen therapy in the management of urogenital atrophy in postmenopausal women: second report of the Hormones and Urogenital Therapy Committee. Obstet Gynecol 1998;92:722-7.

4. Office for National Statistics. Table 1 2011 Census: Usual resident population by five-year age group and sex, United Kingdom and constituent countries. Last accessed: May 2013.

5. Simon J, et al. Effective Treatment of Vaginal Atrophy With an ultra-Low-Dose Estradiol Vaginal Tablet. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2008; 112(5):1053-1060.

6. Hextall A. Oestrogens and lower urinary tract function. Maturitas. 2000;36:83-92

7.Panay N, Hamoda H, Arya R and Savvas M on behalf of The British Menopause Society. The 2013 British Menopause Society & Women's Health Concern recommendations on hormone replacement therapy. Menopause International. Published online before print May 2013;Accessble at: http://min.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/05/23/1754045313489645; doi: 10.1177/1754045313489645.

8. Domoney C, et al. Vaginal Health: When intimacy matters! British Menopause Society (BMS) Annual Congress, 2012.

Related Stories

Treatment helps sex stage a comeback after menopause

June 5, 2013
A satisfying sex life is an important contributor to older adults' quality of life, but the sexual pain that can come after menopause can rob women and their partners of that satisfaction. Treatment can help restore it, shows ...

FDA approves drug for older women experiencing painful sex

February 26, 2013
(HealthDay)—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat postmenopausal women who experience pain during sex, the agency announced Tuesday.

Most first-time mothers wait until after six weeks before resuming sex following childbirth

February 26, 2013
Most first-time mothers wait until after 6 weeks postpartum to resume vaginal sex following childbirth and women who have an operative vaginal birth, caesarean section, perineal tear or episiotomy appear to wait longer, suggests ...

Long-term consequences of vaginal delivery

January 30, 2013
Women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence, prolapse and faecal incontinence 20 years after one vaginal delivery rather than one caesarean section, finds new research published in a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, ...

Study finds planned C-sections provide no advantage over planned vaginal birth of twins

February 11, 2013
In a study to be presented on February 14 at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Francisco, researchers will report findings that suggest that planned birthing of twins ...

Hormone therapy safe for women, study finds

April 18, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A new study has examined the cognitive effects of hormone therapy on memory, language and concentration in menopausal women.

Recommended for you

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

App lets patients work alone or with others to prevent, monitor, and reverse chronic disease

July 24, 2017
Lack of patient adherence to treatment plans is a lingering, costly problem in the United States. But MIT Media Lab spinout Twine Health is proving that regular interventions from a patient's community of supporters can greatly ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.