7 out of 10 women too embarrassed to discuss vaginal dryness

May 19th, 2009 - 12:29 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 19 (IANS) Most post-menopausal women are uncomfortable talking about vaginal dryness and pain or reluctant to seek medical help, according to an international survey.
Results from the survey show that over a third (39 percent) of such women experience these symptoms of vaginal atrophy and 40 percent of women who have recently experienced vaginal dryness and pain said it interferes with their sex life.

Yet seven out of 10 would not discuss the problem with their physician (only 30 percent of women would consider talking to a gynaecologist, and only 29 percent would consider talking to a GP).

This reluctance to discuss the problem means a quarter would wait for over a year before finally contacting their physician. Additionally, more than a third of those surveyed did not know there are local treatments available.

“The results of this survey really highlight my experiences of treating menopausal women and in my practice in Italy it is even worse. The most alarming aspect is that they wait for so long, with only 17 percent taking a treatment to counteract these symptoms,” said Rossella Nappi, director of the Gynaecological Endocrinology and Menopause Unit, University of Pavia, Italy.

“There is definitely a taboo factor involved as the survey shows that, of those who have experienced vaginal dryness and pain, 47 percent would rather speak to a female physician than a male physician about the problem.”

Local symptoms such as painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, itching, burning, and soreness are caused, like other menopausal symptoms, by the gradual decline of oestrogen production in ovaries, said a Pavia release.

The survey also shows that 67 percent of those who have had or are currently taking treatment experience improvements, including an improved quality of life, a return to normal sexual activity, and an improvement in the relationship with their partner.

These findings were presented at the European Congress on Menopause in London.

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