This study aims to evaluate differences and similarities in the prevalence of postmenopausal symptoms and their impact on postmenopausal women and male partners of postmenopausal women in North America and Europe.
The Internet-based survey Clarifying Vaginal Atrophy's Impact on Sex and Relationships (CLOSER) was conducted in North America and Europe. The questionnaire included questions on symptoms experienced by women after menopause and the impact of these symptoms overall and specifically on emotional and physical relationships. This study included 8,200 respondents: 4,100 were postmenopausal women who had experienced vaginal discomfort and 4,100 were male partners of postmenopausal women with this symptom. Differences were significant at the 95% level of confidence.
The survey identified vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, disrupted sleep, and weight gain as the top five symptoms experienced by postmenopausal women in North America and Europe. Overall, symptoms were found to be more prevalent in women from the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada (P < 0.05), and less prevalent in women from Sweden and Italy compared with other countries. In regards to the impact of symptoms overall and on emotional and physical relationships, the greatest number of women from the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada found the impact to be “worse than expected.”
The impact of postmenopausal symptoms on relationships is greater in women from countries where symptoms are more prevalent. Postmenopausal women and male partners of postmenopausal women may benefit from greater education about menopause and open discussions with their healthcare provider.