ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For many older women, the adage of things getting better with age might not apply to their sex lives. But while the majority of women wish their physician would ask about the state of their sexuality, very few women actually broach the topic with their physician.
Women of all ages can encounter issues with desire, arousal, pain and lack of orgasm during sex. However, the physical changes a woman encounters during menopause may compromise healthy sexual functioning, explains Kenneth E. Johnson, DO, who discussed women's sexual concerns after menopause during the American Osteopathic Association's (AOA) OMED 2011, the Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
"Older women view sex as an integral part of their relationship and quality of life just as they did when they were younger," says Dr. Johnson, an AOA board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and director of the women's health center at the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Satisfying sexual events is the goal for women of all ages and issues can be resolved with appropriate therapies."
Dr. Johnson says the biggest concern many women face is fatigue. "As an osteopathic physician, I take time to ask a patient about her home life, such as the state of her relationship and if she works, since those factors can affect a person's health," Dr. Johnson says. "If it seems like she has a lot on her plate, I often will suggest getting plenty of rest and scheduling time for intimate relations as ways of getting her sex life back."
As women age, they might be on more medications to treat chronic diseases. "Some medications can cause a decrease in libido for women," says Dr. Johnson. "A woman may be taking an antidepressant to treat her depression but the medication can lower her sexual desire."
Medications that treat cardiovascular and hypertension symptoms also can affect desire. Dr. Johnson recommends women speak with their physician if they suspect their medication could be causing symptoms of sexual dysfunction.
Hormone replacement therapy can help replace estrogen levels, which decline during menopause. However, Dr. Johnson notes that the older a woman is the longer it takes her to respond to estrogen. For example, it may take several months for a woman who is 55 or older to respond to estrogen therapy, he adds.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 78,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs); promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
SOURCE American Osteopathic Association