A recent study conducted by Dr. Simon and colleagues on the effects of vaginal discomfort in post-menopausal women (known as vaginal atrophy) as it relates to their intimate relationships, finds that estrogen therapy makes a big difference.  Publishers of the medical journal Menopause have determined that the report, “…has important information that deserves greater exposure not only to the scientific community but the lay population.”  The study and its conclusions are scheduled for publication in the medical journal early next year.

Dr. Simon’s study is called the CLOSER survey: Clarifying Vaginal Atrophy’s Impact on Sex and Relationships,” and it surveyed 1,000 post-menopausal women aged 55 to 65, and an equal number of partners of women in that age group. The idea was to determine, through an online mechanism, the emotional and physical impact of vaginal atrophy on post-menopausal women and their partners.

The findings bear out that vaginal atrophy has a significant impact on the sexual relationship of these couples. In fact, 30 percent say that vaginal discomfort is the reason they’ve stopped having sex entirely. Additionally, the women report that it caused them to avoid intimacy (58%), experience a loss of libido (64%) and experience pain associated with sex (also 64%). The men also say it’s impacted their sex lives, causing their partners to avoid intimacy (78%), experience a loss of libido (52%) and experience pain associated with sex (59%).

The good news is that available treatments are found to solve the problem for women, and their partners notice it. Local estrogen therapy made for less painful sex (reported by 56% of the women), more satisfying sex (41%), and an improved sex life (29%). Most men reported looking forward to having sex (57%) because of their partner’s use of local estrogen therapy.

According to Dr. Simon’s report, these findings agree with what clinicians are reporting from their patents as well – that local estrogen relieves the negative impact of vaginal atrophy on the intimate relationships of postmenopausal women and their partners. The report also suggests that additional efforts to increase awareness of available treatments for vaginal atrophy may be beneficial to an even larger population of couples who’ve experienced a deterioration of their sexual relationships because of this common issue.

Dr. Simon is currently recruiting for study subjects to participate in a clinical trial of a new low dose local bioidentical estrogen formulation to address just these CLOSER issues. If you would like to be considered for the trial or if you have any questions feel free to call Dr. Simon’s office at 202.293.1000 or email Alisha Lutat. All study procedures are free and participants will be compensated for their time.


Interested in women’s sexual health? Contact us for an appointment.

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