Female sexuality and vaginal health across the menopausal age.

Vaginal dryness is a major problem in the menopause, causing pain and discomfort during sex. Women seem to be reluctant to discuss this with their doctors, and often just accept it as a normal part of menopause. Treatment is readily available, if women would just mention to their doctors. I am just as much to blame as anyone else because I don’t ask women frequently enough about vaginal discomfort. (Note to myself – make an effort to ask more often)

Menopause. 2020 Jan;27(1):14-19. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001427.

Female sexuality and vaginal health across the menopausal age.

Cagnacci A1, Venier M1, Xholli A1, Paglietti C1, Caruso S2; ANGEL Study.

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The primary aim was to evaluate changes in female sexuality across the menopausal period, and the secondary objective was to test the associations of female sexuality domains with vaginal atrophy and its symptoms.


A cross-sectional multicenter study was performed involving 518 women, 40 to 55 years of age, consulting outpatient gynecological services at 30 centers across Italy. Vaginal atrophy was identified by the contemporaneous presence of a pH >5, subjective vaginal dryness, and an objective sign. The relationships between vaginal atrophy and its main symptoms (vaginal dryness and dyspareunia), and Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) score and its domains (desire, arousal, orgasm, dyspareunia, lubrication, and sexual satisfaction) were analyzed.


The prevalence of sexual dysfunction, as defined by a FSFI score <26.55, was 70.6%, increasing from 55% in the years 40 to 45, to 82.8% (P < 0.01) in the years 52 to 55 of age. Mean FSFI score decreased from 40 to 45, to 46 to 48 years of age (23.13 ± 9.76 vs 19.49 ± 9.88; P < 0.05), and from 48 to 51, to 52 to 55 years of age (21.3 ± 8.06 to 17.59 ± 9.11; P < 0.01). Independent determinants of FSFI were age, vaginal atrophy, and the presence of vaginal dryness and dyspareunia (R2 0.208; P = 0.011). FSFI score was independently correlated (R2 0.116) with weight (CR -0.067; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.126, -0.006; P < 0.032), menopausal status (CR -2.406; 95% CI -4.180, -0.63; P < 0.008), and vaginal dryness (CR -5.647; 95% CI -7.677, -3.618; P < 0.0001). Vaginal dryness was the only variable correlated independently with each FSFI domain, including desire (also correlated with menopausal status), arousal (with age and menopausal status), lubrication (with age), orgasm (with age), satisfaction (with vaginal atrophy and being an ex-smoker), and dyspareunia (with age and spontaneously referred dyspareunia).


In the perimenopausal years, FSFI score decreases and sexual dysfunction increases by about 30%. Vaginal dryness is the symptom of vaginal atrophy most closely related to all domains of female sexuality.

About Dr Colin Holloway

Gp interested in natural hormone treatment for men and women of all ages

Posted on February 10, 2020, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Female sexuality and vaginal health across the menopausal age..

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