Women are not well-informed about painful sex due to menopause, which underscores the importance of women sharing their symptoms with their health care providers for proper treatment and to prevent symptoms from worsening.
This is according to a survey conducted among 832 women aged 45 years and older and 305 women’s health care providers (HCPs). This was done byHealthyWomen and sponsored by Duchesnay USA.
Among 553 respondents, 73% were still sexually active after menopause. Among 555 respondents, 62% were experiencing pain during intercourse.
Among 335 respondents who rated frequency of pain, 83% reported experiencing pain in half or more instances of sexual activity with 73% rating the pain moderate to severe.
Sadly, almost 60% of 337 menopausal women respondents had never discussed their painful sex with a health care provider while, in contrast, 83% of 266 HCP respondents claimed to often or always discuss pain during sex with their menopausal patients.
Worse, among 308 respondents, 69% did not know that the painful sex they were experiencing is treatable.
“Women’s health is a topic that is often in the headlines, yet menopause is still an under-discussed stage of life, especially when it comes to lesser-known symptoms and impact on a woman’s sexual health,” said Barb Dehn, NP, and member of the HealthyWomen Women’s Health Advisory Council. “These findings show the need for improved communication between women and their HCPs, as well as general condition and treatment options awareness so women can lead fulfilling sex lives, pain-free.”
The survey also gave some insight into how women were electing to cope with painful sex. Among 314 respondents, 33% were avoiding sex altogether, and 45% were resorting to lubricants to manage pain.
While certain methods such as lubricants can provide temporary relief, these do not treat the underlying condition. A number of prescription therapies, including hormone-free oral tablets, are available to specifically treat moderate to severe painful sex due to menopause.
For more information on the survey, visit healthywomen.org/painfulsex.