~ Survey reveals symptoms of vaginal atrophy are causing Canadian
couples to avoid sexual intimacy ~
TORONTO, May 6, 2013 /CNW/ - It may not be the most romantic topic for
couples to discuss over a candlelit dinner, but it might be a
conversation that helps rekindle the romance. A new study reveals that
more than six in 10 Canadian women admit they avoid sexual intimacy due
to the symptoms of vaginal atrophy (VA), a chronic condition of
menopause that needs to be discussed.1
Results from a first-of-its-kind study, CLOSER (CLarifying vaginal atrophy's impact On SEx and Relationships), presented at the Canadian Menopause Society's (SIGMA) first annual
Canadian Menopause Conference May 4, 2013, reveals Canadian women and
their partners are one of the most likely out of nine countries
surveyed to feel VA has caused them to avoid sexual intimacy.1
Affecting more than two million post-menopausal Canadian women,2 VA is a common, treatable condition where the vaginal walls become
thin, fragile and inflamed due to a reduction of estrogen.3 Vaginal symptoms include: burning, itching, dryness, irritation and
painful intercourse.4 Despite the physical and emotional burden VA causes, couples are still
uncomfortable talking about it.
It takes two to tango - even when it comes to discussing VA
Regardless of its prevalence, VA is still considered a taboo subject
when compared to erectile dysfunction (ED), which is now commonplace
discussion. According to the CLOSER findings:
Nearly one quarter of Canadian women feel uncomfortable discussing VA
with their partner1
In comparison to other countries, Canadian men would rather their
partner did not talk to them about VA1
If a woman's partner was suffering from ED, three out of four women
would talk about it with their partner1
Eighty-six per cent of men surveyed say they would discuss ED with their
partner, and 83 per cent would discuss it with their healthcare
Dr. Vivien Brown, Family Physician and NAMS Certified Menopause Expert,
presented the Canadian results. According to Dr. Brown, the study
offers the first opportunity to examine the impact VA is having on the
intimacy between Canadian women and their partners.
"Unlike the discussion happening with ED, no one is talking about VA,"
said Dr. Brown. "We need to encourage dialogue between women and their
physicians to ensure VA is properly diagnosed and treated; as well as
encourage dialogue between women and their partners, so couples can
continue to enjoy their relationship. Women can still feel sexy and
desirable during and long after menopause, and it's important for
couples to know this."
Why VA is keeping couples out of the bedroom
More than 1,000 Canadian post-menopausal women and male partners of
post-menopausal women participated in the CLOSER survey. They may not
be talking to each other about VA, but couples are feeling the impact.
According to the survey findings:
Sixty-six per cent of post-menopausal women avoid sexual intimacy
fearing it is too painful1
Sixty-three per cent of women avoid sexual intimacy due to a general
loss of libido1
Canadian women are among the most likely to agree that due to VA sex is
One fifth of women feel VA has made them emotionally distant from their
Forty-four per cent of women say VA makes them feel old1
Sixty-eight per cent of men surveyed say they have sex less often
because of VA1
Thirty per cent of men say sex is less satisfying for them personally1
Twenty-six per cent of Canadian men say they have stopped having sex
When Joan Boone started experiencing symptoms of VA, she and her husband
learned what it was like to put their intimacy on hold.
"The symptoms of VA really affected my relationship with my husband,"
said Joan. "I felt pain during intercourse, and it impacted my
self-esteem. Talking about VA with my husband was difficult at first,
but when I finally did, it gave me the confidence to speak to my doctor
about treatment, and it changed my life. Treatment made me feel renewed
and ready for intimacy again. I feel it helped repair a relationship
strained unnecessarily by VA."
Breaking barriers and seeking a solution
VA affects more than a women's vaginal health; it can significantly
impact her relationship as well. Yet, many women self-treat using
over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers, which may provide
temporary relief of symptoms but do not treat the underlying condition.1 On the other hand, local estrogen therapy (LET), treats the underlying
condition.5 As a result of LET, one third of Canadian women agreed their sex life
had improved and that they felt more satisfied and optimistic about the
future of their sex life.1
"Sexual intimacy is important at any age, yet many couples are living
with the physical and emotional burden of this condition," said Dr.
Brown. "VA treatment is available and effective. Healthcare
professionals are a primary source of information, and together, women,
their partners and their doctors can find a solution. It's not just
about intimacy; it's also about feeling good as a woman, in all aspects
of your life."
According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
(SOGC), effective treatment options are available for VA, with local
estrogen therapy being a standard of care.5
For more information about VA, and to learn what you can do, visit www.TheBigOw.ca.
About the CLOSER Survey
The CLOSER research was an online survey conducted by StrategyOne (partnering with Ipsos
MORI) between December 13, 2011 and February 7, 2012. The survey was
completed by 4,100 post-menopausal women, aged between 55-65 who had
ceased menstruating for at least 12 months and have experienced VA, and
4,100 male partners of post-menopausal women aged 55-65 who have ceased
menstruating for at least 12 months and have experienced VA. The
participants were located across nine countries: US, UK, Canada,
Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy and France.
About Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.
Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care
and biopharmaceuticals. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets
pharmaceutical products and services that make a significant difference
to patients, the medical profession and society. Novo Nordisk's
business is driven by the Triple Bottom Line: a commitment to economic
success, environmental soundness, and social responsibility to
employees and customers. For more information, visit www.novonordisk.ca.
1 CLarifying vaginal atrophy's impact On SEx and Relationships (CLOSER).
European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) Annual Congress, March
2 Vagifem 10 AB12 Novo Nordisk Canada Inc, Data on File.
3 Mayo Clinic: Vaginal Atrophy Definition. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaginal-atrophy/DS00770. Last accessed April 2013.
4 The Big Ow - Symptoms. Available at: http://www.thebigow.ca/WhatIsTheBigOw/WhatItFeelsLike.aspx Last accessed April 2013.
5 SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines: The Detection and Management of
Vaginal Atrophy. Available at: http://www.sogc.org/guidelines/public/145E-CPg-May2004.pdf. Last accessed April 2013.
SOURCE: Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.
For further information:
or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please contact:
GCI Group (Canada)
GCI Group (Canada)