Increasing age and menopausal transition increase the risk of sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction is common in women experiencing menopause before the age of 40 years, whereas evidence on sexual function in women experiencing menopause in their mid-40s is scarce. We aimed to investigate sexual function in 46-year-old women in relation to their menopausal status.
This study cross-sectionally evaluated sexual function of women in a prospective population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC1966). A 46-year follow-up study of NFBC1966 included a broad questionnaire evaluating health, lifestyle, and life situation, as well as menstrual history and sexual function, and blood sampling analysis including follicle stimulating hormone and free androgen index (FAI). The participants were divided into two groups by their menopause status, defined by follicle-stimulating hormone and menstrual history. We performed logistic regression models in which parameters of sexual function were dependent factors and climacteric status, self-reported health, FAI, relationship status, smoking, and education level were independent variables.
The study population included 2,661 women. In regression models, more advanced climacteric status was associated with higher frequency and difficulty level of low sexual desire and vaginal dryness (odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals: 2.80 [2.12-3.71], 3.22 [2.43-4.27], 3.83 [2.82-5.20], 3.75 [2.75-5.12], respectively), lower frequency of sexual thoughts (1.34 [1.02-1.75]), and higher frequency of problems with intercourse (2.35 [1.51-3.66]). Lower FAI and poorer health were associated with impaired sexual function.
The current study suggests that women experiencing menopausal transition in their mid-40s are at risk of impaired sexual function.