OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to use the internet to survey the effect of menopause on women's experience of libido. STUDY DESIGN: A questionnaire incorporating the Brief Profile of Female Sexual Function (B-PFSF) on a UK menopause website. Main outcome measure Questions on reduced libido, distress, level of help sought and treatment. RESULTS: Eighty-four percent of women (n = 2112/2527) felt that an active sex life was important. One thousand and fifty-one perimenopausal and 560 postmenopausal women reported reduced libido causing distress with 23% and 35% discussing this with health professionals. Eighteen percent perimenopausal and 30% postmenopausal women had tried non-testosterone hormone replacement therapy with 34% and 37%, respectively, finding it helpful. Testosterone was deemed useful in some perimenopausal (n = 6/17) and postmenopausal (n = 23/50) women. Twenty-seven percent premenopausal, 38% perimenopausal and 56% postmenopausal women reported vaginal dryness with 78% peri- and 87% postmenopausal women believing it a factor causing reduced libido. Twenty-two percent premenopausal, 28% perimenopausal and 46% postmenopausal women had discussed this with health professionals and 17%, 36% and 55%, respectively, were on treatment. Women in all reproductive epochs completed the B-PFSF (a validated tool for postmenopausal women only). CONCLUSIONS: An active sex life was deemed to be important but many women were not seeking help for menopause-related reduced libido causing distress. For many, vaginal changes contributed to their symptoms. In those seeking advice, treatment was commonly not prescribed. Health professionals must ask appropriate direct questions to all women, especially as part of menopausal assessment. A need for the B-PFSF to be validated in non-postmenopausal women was also indicated.
- estrogen replacement therapy
- health surveys
- patient acceptance of health care
- patient satisfaction
- vaginal diseases