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Poor sleep may lower women's libido

Women may experience low libido during menopause due to related sleep problems, say researchers.

They add that this is the first time sleep disturbances have been independently associated with diminished sexual desire.

Their paper forms a part of the Group Health's Herbal Alternative Treatment of Menopause Symptoms study.

Of the 341 women chosen to take part in the research, 64% reported a low libido, and 43% said they had troubles sleeping.

"It seems reasonable that night sweats can disturb sleep," said study author Susan Reed.

"And poor sleep can reduce energy for everything, including sex."

She adds that menopausal hormone therapy with oestrogens can reduce women's vaginal dryness, but may also lower their natural testosterone levels and affect their libido.

"Our work reinforces the difficult time some women have during the menopause transition, and the importance of other symptoms happening at the same time," said Katherine Newton, principal investigator of the study.

"We are planning future studies to explore further the associations between depression, night sweats, sleep and libido, including genetic determinants."

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology