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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Women's Health Channel
Reported November 7, 2011

Women’s Sexual Concerns after Menopause

By: Alicia Rose DelGallo, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs for female sexual dysfunction, even though it is a major concern among women, especially women in menopause. Kenneth E. Johnson, an osteopathic physician (DO) and chair of the Ob/GYN department at Nova Southeastern University, spoke Tuesday at the American Osteopathic Association’s OMED2011 conference and exposition about these concerns.

There is a huge difference in the number of women who want their physicians to ask about their sex lives (95 percent), and the number who bring the topic up while visiting a physician (5 percent), Dr. Johnson said.

There are four major types of sexual disorders in women; arousal disorder, orgasmic disorder, pain disorder and desire disorder.

Arousal disorder is the inability to maintain sufficient sexual excitement. Desire disorder is the persistent or recurring deficiency of sexual thoughts, and is the most common among post-menopausal women, with over 50 percent complaining about this problem. Orgasmic disorder is the delay in, difficulty or absence of orgasm. Pain disorder is less common and involves physical pain during sexual intercourse.

"The average age of menopause in American women is 50.2 years of age. Women live, one average, to 80. So, she spends a third of her life dealing with menopause," Johnson said. "By the year 2030, 1.2 billion women globally will be in menopause, and women are living longer and longer. So, this is a growing, major problem for female patients."

Healthy sexual function is crucial, and has many benefits, Johnson said. Some of the benefits include improved self-image, nurtured partner relationships, and increased motivation to address health concerns.

Menopause increases the risk of sexual dysfunction, but does not lower sexual activity. However, surgically induced menopause causes increased incidence of dysfunction.

"There’s a myth that sexual activity decreases with age, that certainly isn’t the case," Johnson said.

He concludes that sexual disorders in menopausal women are a serious issue, and there is a lack of studies, treatments, and FDA approved therapies. In fact, there are no current FDA approved pharmaceuticals for the treatment of women’s sexual dysfunction, and only one FDA approved medical device, called the EROS-CTD device.

"Female sexual dysfunction is a common condition among post-menopausal women. The diagnosis and treatment should be multi-disciplinary and inclusive of the spouse," Johnson concluded. "New agents for this condition are on the horizon."

SOURCE: OMED 2011, Kenneth e. Johnson, DO, FACOOG, Chair, Dept. of Ob/GYN – Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine

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