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Decreased arousal, vulvovaginal atrophy highly prevalent among postmenopausal Asian women

09 Jan 2018

There appears to be a high prevalence of decreased sexual desire and vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms, including dryness, irritation, soreness and dyspareunia, among postmenopausal Asian women, a study has reported.

Researchers performed a systematic review of the literature to investigate the prevalence of sexual symptoms in women in Asia in relation to their menopause status. They searched multiple online databases for relevant population-based prevalence studies published between 1988 and 2016.

A total of 34 articles, comprising 24,743 women, were included. Risk of bias was assessed using a risk-of-bias tool developed specifically for the systematic review of prevalence studies.

Data showed a high prevalence of diminished sexual desire among postmenopausal women in Asia. Vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms, while common after menopause in some Asian countries, appeared to be either less common or under-reported in other Asian countries.

Researchers noted a paucity of data pertaining to menopause and sexual well-being in Asia, as well as the lack of prevalence studies assessing sexual function using a validated questionnaire. Most of the included studies had a high risk of bias, particularly in the four items that pertain to external validity.

Despite its limitations, the available data suggest that decreased sexual desire and vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms (eg, dryness, irritation, soreness and dyspareunia) commonly occur after menopause in women in Asia, researchers said. However, the extent to which the said symptoms cause women distress is unclear.

Additional studies of representative samples of premenopausal, perimenopausal and postmenopausal women that use robustly translated and culturally appropriate validated questionnaires, and that collect detailed demographic data are warranted to determine the prevalence of sexual symptoms in relation to menopause in women in Asia, they added.

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