We’re led to believe that sex goes south for women after the menopause.
However, new research published today shows that in fact lovemaking may actually improve.
The bad news? We’ll have to wait until we’re in our eighties!
Apparently, scientists discovered that some octogenarians have better sex than women of 50.
Scientists quizzed 7,000 over 50s and found that from the age of 50 to 79 many women found it harder to become aroused.
However, once they blew out the candles on their 80th birthday cake the number of women reporting difficulties getting in the mood dropped. Fewer women said they had issues with arousal over 80 than than mere striplings in their 60s.
The researchers, who published their findings in the International Longevity Centre, reckon this is down to older people “feeling happier in their own skin” and having an understanding that sex does not have to be perfect.
Women’s sex lives don't stop with the menopause
Dr David Lee, of the University of Manchester said of the findings: “There is a perception among society as a whole that sex stops once you are 80, be it through disbelief, disgust or humour. That clearly isn’t the case and it’s not how over 80s perceive it.”
However, it is true that around and after the menopause, sexual arousal can change for some women. Hormonal changes mean that even if the desire to have sex is still there, vaginal dryness means that it may be painful.
Some women suffer from vaginal atrophy, a condition that causes thinning and drying of the vaginal walls due to your body producing less oestrogen. This generally occurs after the menopause, or after cancer treatment.
As well discomfort during lovemaking, symptoms include itching around the vagina and/or vulva, vaginal discharge, frequent need to urinate and recurrent urinary infections and well as stress incontinence. Women who have vaginal atrophy may also find they bleed after having sex.
It’s estimated that between 50 and 60% of women have this condition.
So, it’s unsurprising that the Manchester researchers found that about a quarter of women in their fifties don’t find it as easy to get aroused. This rises to 37 per cent of women in their sixties, and goes up to to 40 per cent for those in their seventies.
But at 80, this figure drops, and only 35 per cent of women reported having problems.
While it’s great news that many women rediscover the joy of sex in their ninth decade, a new treatment means that sex can be improved long before then.
Laser treatment gives better sex
Consultant Gynaecologist Mr Pandelis Athanasias of Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic says that a new laser treatment – The MonaLisa Touch is bringing hope for menopausal women who’d thought that they’d left behind enjoyable sex in their 40s. He describes the painless procedure as a ‘gamechanger’.
Before the MonaLisa Touch, the treatment for vaginal atrophy was oestrogen – either take orally or topically.
Oestrogen taken orally is known to heighten the risk of breast cancer. The risks are less with creams applied directly to the vaginal area, but many women find them awkward to use.
Mr Athanasias says The MonaLisa Touch laser therapy acts by reshaping and regenerating the tissue - rejuvenating the vagina.
He says: “One study has shown improvements of 90 per cent in vaginal laxity, 85 per cent in vaginal itching, 84 per cent in vaginal burning, 76 per cent in dryness and 72 per cent in pain during sex, after three sessions of MonaLisa Touch.”
The procedure only takes a few minutes, and is painless and there are no risks to the surrounding tissue. Three treatments are usually required, and The MonaLisa Touch is suitable for most women, and there is also growing evidence it may also help conditions such as lichen sclerosus, vaginal or vulval inflammation and urinary disorders.
It is important than the patient is assessed by a Consultant Gynaecologist prior to the treatment being carried out.
The MonaLisa Touch is available at Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic. Telephone 020 3883 9525 or email [email protected]
The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods ceaseFull medical glossary