Resilience, defined as the capacity to overcome stressful situations, is related to both sexual health and quality of life during the menopausal transition, according to a study published in Menopause.
“This study highlights the potential protective effects of resilience as it relates to sexual health in menopausal women,” Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, MBA, FACP, NCMP, IF, medical director of NAMS, said in a press release.
Resilience enables individuals to adapt to change, resist the negative effects of stressors and return to normal function more quickly after adverse events, Faubion added.
Stephanie S. Faubion
“Fortunately, this skill set can be strengthened, potentially representing another tool that clinicians can use to help women with sexual dysfunction,” Faubion said.
Agustin Oliva, MD, a gynecologist at the Women’s Health Institute of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues surveyed 101 symptomatic menopausal women on resilience, sexual function, climacteric symptoms and demographics.
Participants had a median age of 54.41 years (interquartile range [IQR], 50.19-57.72), with a median time frame of 24 months (IQR, 3.5-60) since their last menstrual period. They also were sexually active, meaning they had intercourse at least once in the 4 weeks prior to the study.
The women completed the 14-item Wagnild and Young Resilience Scale (WYRS-14). With 14 items scored between 1 and 7, total scores ranged from 14 to 98, with higher scores indicating greater resilience.
Also, the women completed the Spanish version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Its 19 items include questions about sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain. With totals ranging from 2 to 36, higher scores indicate better sexual health, with scores of 26 and below indicating significant sexual problems.
The 16-item Cervantes short-form (Cervantes-SF) questionnaire was administered to assess the impact of climacteric symptoms such as vasomotor symptoms, health and aging, psychological issues, sexuality and partner relations on quality of life. Total scores range from 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating better quality of life.
Finally, the women completed a general sociodemographic questionnaire on age, parity, educational level, partner status, employment status, last menstrual period, tobacco and alcohol intake and climacteric symptom treatment.
The median score on the WYRS-14 survey was 81 (IQR, 74-91). The researchers considered 74 points to be the cutoff between low and mid-high resilience.
Women with FSFI scores higher than 26 compared with women with FSFI scores of 26 or less had significantly higher WYRS-14 scores (86; IQR, 80-94 vs. 74; IQR, 66-79.5). The researchers also found a significant correlation coefficient between WYRS-14 and FSFI total scores of 0.689 (P < .001).
Women with low resilience scores had significantly worse sexual function, with an FSFI total score of 18.9 (IQR, 14.1-24), compared with an FSFI total score of 29.4 (IQR, 24.6-33) for women with high resilience scores (P < .001).
The researchers further found a significant correlation coefficient of –0.71 (P < .001) between FSFI and Cervantes-SF total scores as well as a significant negative correlation between WYRS-14 and Cervantes-SF total scores, with a correlation coefficient of –0.438 (P = .004)
Women with low resilience scores also had significantly worse menopause-related quality of life, with a Cervantes-SF total score of 42.5 (IQR, 34.17-56.7), compared with women with mid-high resilience scores, who had a Cervantes-SF total score of 30.8 (IQR, 20.8-44.9; P = .004).
However, there were no statistically significant differences in resilience scores based on educational level, alcohol or tobacco intake, BMI, marital status, employment status or parity.
Concluding that resilience is related to sexual health and quality of life among menopausal women, the researchers noted that additional investigation through studies with larger samples are necessary to further understand these relationships.
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