January 26, 2009
Pains And Loss Of Sexual Desire Correlated In Aging Women

Lots of bad things go together as we age.

Women with low levels of sexual desire, often as a result of menopause, are more likely to be depressed and to suffer physical symptoms such as back pain and memory problems than women who report higher levels of desire, according to a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals.

The study, published recently as an online early view article in “Value in Health,” the official journal of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, found that women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) reported poorer health status and worse health-related quality of life than women without the disorder. For example, those with the disorder were more than twice as likely to report health issues including back pain, fatigue and memory problems. Researchers say the study shows that women with the disorder have a degree of physical and mental impairment comparable to chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis and asthma.

What's the direction of causality here? Does a loss of sexual desire make life so much less enjoyable that everything else feels worse? Or does the same physical changes from menopause that reduce desire also increase pains? Or do women who had lower sexual desire from their teen years forward experience more rapid aging? Or does the aging of the body create the pains and also cause the decline in sexual desire? One can imagine how, for example, decreased blood flow due to cardiovascular disease could cause all these symptoms. Certainly circulatory problems contribute to impotence in some men.

Some people say that aging is graceful and full of wisdom and just another interesting stage of life full of enriching experiences. But loss of sexual desire, back pains, fatigue, and memory problems do not sound enriching to me. We need gene therapies, cell therapies, tissue engineering to grow replacement organs, nanobot repair devices, and other rejuvenating therapies to fix all these pains and losses that come with age. The sooner we get these therapies the better off we'll be.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 January 26 10:46 PM  Aging Studies

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