The CLOSER survey: Impact of postmenopausal vaginal discomfort on women and male partners in the UK

Claudine Domoney, Heather Currie, Nick Panay, Ricardo Maamari, Rossella E. Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To understand the physical and emotional impact of postmenopausal vaginal discomfort on relationships between women and their male partners. Study design: In a quantitative, Internet-based survey, 8200 individuals from the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Italy, US and Canada (postmenopausal, married/cohabiting women, aged 55-65 years, who had experienced vaginal discomfort, and male partners of such women) completed a structured questionnaire. Main outcome measures: Results for respondents from the UK (500 men, 500 women), expressed as percentages of women/men describing particular answers, are reported. Results: Avoiding physical intimacy because of vaginal discomfort was reported by 69% of women and 76% of male partners, mainly due to concern about sex being painful (women 63%; men 61%); 18% of women considered vaginal discomfort had created emotional distance between them and their partners. Local estrogen treatment was used by 21% of women, among whom 58% subsequently reported less painful sex. Following such treatment, 33% of women and 30% of male partners reported an improved sex life, while 33% of women and 34% of male partners described becoming emotionally closer. Although 73% of women did not consider enough information about vaginal discomfort to be available, 60% would consult a physician to obtain this. Conclusions: Although vaginal discomfort has a substantial impact on postmenopausal women and their partners, improvements in sexual and emotional relationships can follow use of local estrogen therapy. Not all women may be aware of therapeutic options; healthcare providers can improve outcomes by more openly communicating and initiating discussion with patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalMenopause international
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Local estrogen therapy
  • Male partner
  • Menopause
  • Survey
  • Vaginal atrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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