30% of Couples Stop Having Sex Due to Age-Related VA

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Despite a growing number of new treatments, the chronic condition of vaginal atrophy is still something many Americans are unfamiliar with or are uncomfortable talking about.

Yet new research suggests it’s a far wider reaching issue that actually impacts both men and women, as almost one-third of North American couples stop having sex entirely due to VA.

According to the data

Forty-five percent of postmenopausal women suffer from VA, and 58 percent of those women avoid intimacy due to the symptoms. Those can include burning, dryness, painful intercourse and urinary incontinence.

In a series of surveys, family physician and menopause specialist Dr. Vivien Brown and her colleagues sought to better understand how the condition affects women, men and their relationships.

The first survey involved 8,341 men and women across nine different countries.

North American couples reported a higher level of symptoms when compared with their European counterparts. Sixty-four percent of North American women said they experienced a loss of libido as a result of the condition.

According to the dataAmong the North American men surveyed, 78 percent believed their partners avoided intimacy due to the symptoms.

The North American surveys also found the women suffering typically experienced feelings of unattractiveness and reduced confidence as a result.

The data is reportedly the first to explore how VA affects the men involved as well. The results appear this month in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The condition, which causes vaginal walls to become more fragile or inflamed as women age, is due to a reduced level of estrogen. Most women surveyed said they viewed the side effects as “a normal part of getting older.”

What can be done

Dr. Vivien Brown

Dr. Vivien Brown
Family Physician

Brown warns issues of embarrassment prevent many patients from seeking medical advice on the condition, something physicians should take the lead on.

“The survey shows us that VA is negatively affecting women, their relationships and their overall quality of life,” she said. “As health care providers, it is our role to start the vaginal health conversation with our patients to ensure they are speaking with their partners and getting the proper treatment available.”

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