Health: A Question of Health: I've lost all my sex drive

I AM delighted for all those relationships that have been helped by the arrival of Viagra. What, however, is being done for women? I am 47, and over the past five years I have gone off sex. This is having a lousy effect on a relationship which otherwise has a lot going for it. A brief course of counselling led nowhere. I have told my partner that screaming at me is no answer. I've heard that at my age this is not unusual and I could just try putting up with it. I can do that, but my partner can't. I think the cause may be hormonal. Where do I go for help and what should I ask?

You and your partner need to begin talking (not screaming) about how to solve this problem. Fatigue or depression may be factors. You should be asking yourselves how much time you devote to your relationship. Is it enough? You should be able to find out whether there is a hormonal problem by asking your GP to refer you to an endocrinologist, who is interested in hormonal problems around the time of the menopause. Some drugs, particularly the newer anti-depressants, can suppress sexual desire and pleasure. I would suggest that you and your partner see a specialist therapist who is accredited by the British Association for Sexual and Marital Therapy. You can contact them at PO Box 13686, London SW20 9ZH; or visit their website at http://www.basmt.org.uk

I SUFFER from a dry throat and mouth at night. What can I do, apart from sip water?

If the problem occurs just at night, it is likely to be caused by either breathing through your mouth when you are asleep, or some environmental factor in your bedroom. If you breathe through the mouth, it may be because your nose is blocked or even obstructed, perhaps by a deformity of the septum that separates the nostrils. Try an anti-inflammatory nasal spray such as Beconase for a month or two. Have plenty to drink throughout the day. This will prevent you from becoming dehydrated overnight. If you are taking any regular medications, look at the side-effects. Many drugs cause dryness of the mouth. Make sure the air in your bedroom is well- humidified. Containers of water on the radiators will help.

I HAVE noticed that if I sleep in a certain position (with lots of pillows, on my side, with arms curled in front of me), as I am drifting off to sleep I can feel my breathing get shallower and shallower until I wake suddenly, gasping. Is this sleep apnoea, and should I worry?

Sleep apnoea causes many episodes through the night in which breathing becomes shallow and then stops for 10 seconds or more. Most people with sleep apnoea snore. Ask your partner to watch you when you are asleep. If the same thing occurs while you are sleeping, it may be sleep apnoea, which can have serious effects if untreated. The way to find out is to be referred to a sleep laboratory.

Send questions to A Question of Health, 'The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; fax 0171-293 2182; e-mail health@independent. co.uk. Dr Kavalier cannot respond personally to questions

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific