Is the age at menopause a cause of sexual dysfunction? A Brazilian population-based study

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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of the study was to evaluate the association between age at menopause and sexual dysfunction and the components of sexual function in postmenopausal women.

Methods:

In this cross-sectional population-based study, data of 540 women aged 45 to 60 years regarding the age they were when they achieved menopause and its association with sexual dysfunction (evaluated using the Short Personal Experiences Questionnaire) were obtained through interviews. We assessed the data for associations between age at menopause and sexual dysfunction and demographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics.

Results:

Age at menopause was not associated with sexual dysfunction. Arousal (dysfunction) was the only component of sexual function that was associated with premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) and early menopause (P = 0.01). It was reported by 64.2% of women with POI (women <40 y), compared with sexual dysfunction rates of 50% and 45.6% of women aged 40 to 45 and >45 years, respectively (P = 0.04). In women with POI or early menopause, Poisson regression analysis showed that having a partner with sexual problems (prevalence ratio [PR] = 6.6; 95% CI: 3.3-13,2; P < 0.001) and dyspareunia (PR = 3.9; 95% CI: 1.8-8.2; P = 0.0005) were factors associated with arousal dysfunction. Satisfaction with the partner as a lover (PR = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.2-0.7; P = 0.002) was protective against arousal dysfunction.

Conclusions:

Arousal dysfunction was associated with early ovarian failure and POI. The major factors affecting this association were having a partner with sexual problems, dyspareunia, and no satisfaction with the partner as a lover. These findings highlight the importance of evaluating partner problems and improving lubrication in these groups of women.

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