Vasomotor and sexual symptoms in older Australian women: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Objectives: To determine the prevalence and severity of vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and sexual symptoms in community-dwelling older women, and to explore factors associated with VMS.

Design: Population-based cross-sectional study. 

Setting: Not applicable. 

Participant(s): A total of 1,548 women aged 65-79 years. Intervention(s) None. Main Outcomes Measure(s) The presence and self-rated severity of VMS (hot flashes, night sweats, or sweating), and sexual symptoms (intimacy, desire, and vaginal dryness) were determined with the use of the Menopause Quality of Life (MenQOL) questionnaire. 

Result(s): All items of the vasomotor and the sexual MenQOL domains were completed by 1,532 and 1,361 of the study participants, respectively. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) use was reported by 6.2% of the women, and 6.9% reported using vaginal estrogen. Among the 1,426 women not using MHT, at least 1 VMS was reported by 32.8%. The prevalence of VMS rated as moderately to severely bothersome was 3.4%. A total of 54.4% of currently partnered women had sexual symptoms, and 32.5% reported vaginal dryness during intercourse in the past month. In the multivariate analysis, factors significantly associated with VMS were age, obesity, being a caregiver for another person, and bilateral oophorectomy. 

Conclusion(s): VMS and vaginal atrophy symptoms are common in community-dwelling older women, but they are predominantly untreated. The degree of distress caused by sexual symptoms among older women needs further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-155e1
Number of pages8
JournalFertility and Sterility
Volume105
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • menopause
  • older women
  • Vasomotor symptoms

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