Oh Really?

February 5, 2009


Procter & Gamble may be a household name for washing powder, but they also have a pharmaceutical arm that has just joined with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to produce a finding that will leave you as amazed as I was – not!

One of the often reported effects of the menopause is a loss of libido. When my good friend Dr Shirley Bond and I were giving workshops on coping with menopause this often came up in the discussion. We found women fell into two camps: they were worried by it, or delighted with it – unfortunately low libido is also associated with depression so it’s hard to sort out if it is the menopause or another life challenging situation that is causing it.

This new report was found in the official journal of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (I often find the longer the name the less valuable the information, or is that just me?) and states at length what I just mentioned in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. Obviously brevity doesn’t bring a handsome research grant – where am I going wrong? The researchers ‘discovered’ that women with a low libido suffered physical symptoms and memory problems as well as depression. Lack of a fulfilling sex life could depress anyone, and those ‘senior moments’ are not an exclusively female characteristic in my experience. Being depressed just by itself can, and does, manifest all the same symptoms that they are describing in their report.

The research was done by phone over 1000 women in the USA by asking them to undertake a quality of life study. The women were asked about their levels of sexual desire and feelings of physical and emotional well-being or distress. Sadly they didn’t phone me, and I would hazard a guess that if they phoned women during the world cup or while trying to get dinner ready then they would have got some interesting results that weren’t necessarily typical of that woman’s everyday experience. Amazingly the women who had a low libido were more likely to be depressed and to express dissatisfaction with their home lives and their sexual partners. Having a low libido and an unsatisfactory partner can depress anyone but I am not convinced it is solely applicable to menopausal women as I said before.

Still I am sure there is another research project already under way to investigate my theory, and if you want to give your libido a boost and avoid all those symptoms, then I suggest you go to it in any way that works for you – I expect consumption of George Clooney DVD’s and boxes of chocolate to soar.


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