Almost half of women say they stopped ‘having sex while going through menopause’

Exclusive: ‘The menopause is a very difficult time emotionally for many women,’ says lawyer

Maya Oppenheim
Women’s Correspondent
Friday 23 July 2021 19:41 BST
<p>The majority of the 3.4 million women between 50 and 64 in the UK will be experiencing symptoms of menopause</p>

The majority of the 3.4 million women between 50 and 64 in the UK will be experiencing symptoms of menopause

Almost half of women say they stopped having sex while going through the menopause, new research has found.

The polling, which was carried out exclusively for The Independent, also discovered around a quarter of women live in fear their partner will separate or divorce them due to the menopause killing their sex drive.

Stowe Family Law, which polled 534 women who were aged 40 and older, found 65 per cent of women say being menopausal has impacted their marriage. While almost half believed their relationship could have been rescued if the NHS had better help for those struggling with symptoms of menopause.

Rachel Roberts, a lawyer at Stowe Family Law, the largest family law firm in the UK, told The Independent they are seeing a rise in cases of perimenopausal and menopausal women getting in touch as their relationship is struggling due to the hormonal changes they are experiencing.

Ms Roberts added: “Currently, over 50 per cent of our divorce enquiries from women are in their 40s and 50s and we are seeing this number rise.

“The perimenopause and the menopause is a very difficult time emotionally for many women, who find themselves worrying about their relationship on top of dealing with hormonal changes.

“We all too often see women coming to us to start divorce proceedings because they feel their partners don’t understand the emotional and mental struggles they are going through, or men who are unable to understand why their partner’s behaviour has changed so much.”

She said it was “troubling” to discover the high numbers of women surveyed who said their relationship could have been saved if the NHS provided better support for women experiencing the menopause.

“It’s time for more awareness to be placed on the emotional impacts of menopause so that women are better supported in their lives and in their relationships,” Ms Roberts added.

The majority of the 3.4 million women between 50 and 64 in the UK will be experiencing symptoms of menopause – with these ranging from heart palpitations to hot flushes, vaginal pain, anxiety and depression.

The latest study, which polled a nationally representative sample of women around the country, found almost half of women say the menopause has had repercussions on their mental health and wellbeing.

Two thirds of women said they do not think their spouse or partner properly grasps the physical, mental and emotional repercussions the menopause causes.

Stowe Family Law, which specialises in family law and divorce across the UK, is growing in size - with the firm attributing its growth to mounting demand for its services in the wake of the pandemic.

It comes after Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East, recently introduced legislation to parliament seeking to overhaul “menopause rights, entitlements and education”.

The politician, who has also set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of MPs which is focused on the menopause, told The Independent: ”When women go through the menopause, they will produce less testosterone. This results in a great loss of libido.

“In the UK you can only get an NHS prescription for eostrogen and progesterone. You cannot get a prescription for testorone unless you go private. Women should be able to get testosterone on the NHS to save marriages.”

The Independent recently reported almost half of women going through the menopause say they were left with no option but to seek private healthcare.

Healthcare providers said menopausal women are resorting to private treatment due to failing to get proper support or correct prescriptions from NHS doctors. While campaigners warned some women are racking up debt by borrowing money from the bank or relatives as private treatment can spiral into costing thousands of pounds.

Data from the Menopause Support network, which was shared exclusively with The Independent, found 48 per cent of just over 600 women they polled said they had been “left with no option but to seek private menopause care”.

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