Impact of VVA on Intimacy and Relationships

When asked about their symptoms, only 24 percent of women attributed their vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse menopause. Most of them didn’t know what caused the symptoms and 62 percent of the the women had never heard of the condition — and only a quarter of them had visited their gynecologist in the last year.

The reason many of the women didn’t talk to their gynecologist about VVA is because they assumed it was a natural part of aging or because the symptoms were not bothersome enough to mention. Women said they most often brought it up during their annual physical examination and approximately half of the women in the survey said they waited more than 7 months to do so. They assumed the symptoms would disappear over time so they did not initiate a discussion with their doctor.  Some of the women were using over-the-counter products to try to treat their symptoms without success.

As a result most of the symptomatic women surveyed were never treated and one-third discontinued their over-the-counter treatments due to lack of satisfaction.

More Older Women Diagnosed with VVA than Younger Women

Women in the 66 to 75 -year age range were more likely to have discussed the symptoms and been diagnosed with VVA than younger women. And Hispanic women had the highest number of discussions with their doctor.

In general, the women’s VVA symptoms had the greatest impact on her sexual enjoyment. They reported that it inferred with sexual spontaneity, intimacy and the the relationship with their partner. In fact, 12 percent of the women surveyed who did not have a partner reported they were not going to seek one due to their VVA symptoms.

The Impact of VVA Symptoms on Daily Life

  • 85% of those with a partner agreed they had some problem with loss of intimacy
  • 29 % said VVA  interfered with sleep
  • 27% reported VVA affected their general enjoyment of life
  • 26% noted that it changed their temperament

Source: Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy in Postmenopausal Women: Findings from the REVIVE (REal Women’s VIews of Treatment Options for Menopausal Vaginal ChangEs) Survey – 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine