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Barb DePree, MD, NCMP,MMM

Director of the Women's Midlife Services at Holland Hospital

Holland, MI

Dr. Barb DePree, a gynecologist in practice for over 30 years, specializes in midlife women's health. She is certified through the North American Menopause Society as a provider, and was named the 2013 NAMS Certified Menopause Provider of the year. Dr. DePree currently serves as the director of the Women’s Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, Holland, Michigan. In 2018, she completed a certification in Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment.

A member of NAMS, ACOG and ISSWSH, Dr. DePree has been a presenter for the ACOG CME audio program. She has served as a key opinion leader for Shionogi, AMAG, Duchesnay, Valeant, Wyeth and Astellas leading physician education, and participating in research projects and advisory panels.

Finding that products helpful to her patients’ sexual health were not readily available, Dr. DePree founded that shares practice-tested, clinically sound information and products, including guidance for working with partners and caregivers. Dr. DePree publishes regularly on her own blog, providing updates on research in women’s sexual health, as well as observations and advice based on her work with women in her practice. Sharecare named her as a Top 10 Social Healthmaker for Menopause in September of 2013. In 2017, she was named among the “Top 10 Best Menopause Blogs” by Medical News Today. Dr. DePree also publishes podcast interviews on women in midlife, exploring the ways they have made the transition in their lives and careers.

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New Study: Many Reasons Sex Declines After Menopause

Lack of desire and vaginal dryness are often given as the reason sex declines for women after menopause. But a new study finds many more reasons.

Menopause & Aging Well

Conventional wisdom is that sexual activity drops off for women after menopause because of things like lack of desire and vaginal dryness. But a new qualitative study affirms my perspective that it's not that simple (even taking into account the way that women's sexuality really works).

For the study, researchers analyzed the comments of 4,418 postmenopausal women (median age of 64). Reading participants' comments about their sex lives gave researchers an up-close and personal look at all the things that go into the decline of sexual intimacy.

Lack of a partner, either through death or divorce, was the biggest reason. Sixty-five percent, however, did have an intimate partner, and 22 percent were sexually active. In their comments, they talked about the things affecting their sex lives (or lack thereof). They talked about their partner's medical condition (27 percent) or sexual dysfunction (13.5 percent) and their own physical health (18 percent) or prescribed medication (7 percent). The mentioned relationship problems (10.5 percent) or logistics (6 percent), and perceptions of aging (9 percent).

Read more about What Happens When You Want to Have Sex, But It Hurts?

Among usual menopause-related factors, they cited low sex drive in themselves (16 percent; in their partners, 7 percent) and other menopause-related symptoms (12.5 percent). Respondents could cite more than one reason, which is why percentages exceed 100.

Perhaps the saddest statistic, for me, was that only 6 percent had sought medical help for sexual problems. I encourage you to be open with your doctor about whatever issues you're facing. While not every issue can be resolved, as a clinician I know that most can be improved to the point where you can enjoy sexual intimacy again.

Barb DePree, MD, has been a gynecologist for 30 years, specializing in menopause care for the past 10. Dr. DePree was named the Certified Menopause Practitioner of the Year in 2013 by the North American Menopause Society. The award particularly recognized the outreach, communication and education she does throughMiddlesexMD, a website she founded and where this blog first appeared. She also is director of the Women's Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, Holland, Michigan.

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