This year’s Donald F. Richardson Memorial Lecture will focus how to maintain sexual desire during menopause.
Maureen Whelihan, MD, FACOG, will present “Controlling the Hot Flashes and Keeping the Heat in the Bedroom: Sexual Dysfunctions and Menopause” at 1:10 pm today in Hall D. Dr. Whelihan, who has delivered several sexual medicine-related presentations at recent Annual Meetings, said that this year’s lecture will help attendees understand the most common sexual dysfunctions they’re likely to see in their practices — most commonly low desire — and help streamline the process to help make quick diagnoses and discuss the benefits and risks of available treatments.
“I think ob-gyn docs are beginning to understand that we need to know more about sexual medicine and sexual function in our patients,” said Dr. Whelihan, head of Elite GYN Care of the Palm Beaches in Florida and author of “Kiss and Tell: Secrets of Sexual Desire from Women 15 to 97.” “Whether we have the time to address it or not, it’s important to our patients that we ask.”
Patients remain reluctant to talk about sexual problems with any physician, regardless of specialty. Research has found that 57 percent prefer not to tell any health professional about their problems. But if patients are going to talk about their sexual problems, they prefer to talk about them with their ob-gyn. The research also shows that they want the physician to start the conversation.
Part of Dr. Whelihan’s lecture will explain how to address these concerns directly and concisely and show an interest in the patient’s well-being during an office visit.
“If we’re the resource, then we need to be ready to respond to their concerns or acknowledge that these are common complaints. The doctor should be willing to address those concerns or at least have a team of consultants to refer to, whether it’s a sex therapist, pelvic floor physical therapist, or another ob-gyn in the area that does sexual medicine,” Dr. Whelihan said.
The lecture will focus on menopause, mostly since sexual dysfunction and low desire reach their peak in women between ages 40 and 60, as estrogen and testosterone decrease and menopause begins.
“It really is all intertwined, so it’s no surprise that the conversation about low desire and sexual function has a peak around the perimenopause/menopause period,” Dr. Whelihan said. “It goes hand in hand.”
She also will discuss some of the interpersonal, socio-cultural, and psychological impacts that hamper good sexual function no matter a woman’s age.