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Nappi R.E.,University of Pavia | Mattsson L.-A.,Sahlgrenska University Hospital | Lachowsky M.,University Paris - Sud | Maamari R.,Novo Nordisk AS | Giraldi A.,Psychiatric Center Copenhagen 7411
Maturitas | Year: 2013

Objectives CLOSER investigated how postmenopausal vaginal atrophy ('vaginal discomfort') affects relationships between women and their partners. Study design CLOSER involved postmenopausal women (55-65 years) with vaginal discomfort, and male partners of women with the condition. Main outcome measures Structured questionnaire collecting information on impact of vaginal discomfort and local oestrogen treatment on intimacy and relationships, and symptoms and impact of menopause. Results 1600 women and 1600 men from Northern Europe and 1000 women and 1000 men from Southern Europe were included. Worry that vaginal discomfort would never go away was expressed by 28% and 38% of women in Northern and Southern Europe, respectively (p < 0.05), while 21% and 27% worried that vaginal discomfort would ruin their future sex life (p < 0.05). Half of women who avoided intimacy worried about painful sex. Among men, 86% wanted their partner to talk about symptoms; two-thirds felt comfortable with this. In Northern and Southern Europe, 15% and 11% of men, respectively, feared that discussing vaginal discomfort would ruin intimacy, while 29% and 19% believed that vaginal discomfort was a big problem in their sex life. Men with partners who avoided intimacy recognised that worry about painful sex was the main reason. Vaginal discomfort impaired self-esteem and emotional wellbeing among women, while local oestrogen treatment improved relationships, particularly in Southern Europe. Conclusions Vaginal discomfort impairs quality of life in postmenopausal women and their partners. Southern European women were generally more worried about long-term effects on their relationship, and were more likely to report benefits after treatment. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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