• Vol. 37 No. 3, 215–223
  • 15 March 2008

Care of Women in Menopause: Sexual Function, Dysfunction and Therapeutic Modalities

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The physiological changes that occur in menopause alter sexual function and affect well-being. Hormonal changes contribute significantly to reduced sexual function in older women and sexual dysfunction may well be amenable to treatment with exogenous hormones or other agents.

Materials and Methods: Relevant clinical studies were identified by a computerised literature search. The collated data were presented to fellow gynaecologists for review, analysis of results and discussion in a series of meetings dedicated to finding the best evidence in menopause management. The evidence was assessed and used to prepare guidelines around the management of women who are affected by sexual dysfunction in menopause.

Results: Hormone therapy benefits many women who have dyspareunia related to vaginal atrophy, reduced libido and decreased satisfaction, particularly if these symptoms adversely affect their quality of life. Alternative agents such as tibolone and sildenafil citrate can be useful adjuncts.

Conclusions: It is increasingly important to recognise postmenopausal sexual dysfunction. Treatment of this syndrome must be individualised to the specific complaints of each woman. Hormones and other agents are relevant treatment options for properly-selected women.


Menopause is a life change described by biological alterations occurring in the context of important social changes. There is an increasing appreciation for the role of sexual function in menopause and its importance for a woman’s health and well-being.

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