Can regular sex delay menopause? Women who engage in frequent sex are not likely to experience menopause at an early age, according to new research.
A team from University College London (UCL) found that women who engaged in sexual activity – including intercourse, oral sex or self-stimulation – on a weekly basis were 28 per cent less likely to have experienced the menopause.
Those who had sex every month were 19 per cent less likely to experience early menopause than those who had sex less frequently. The team who looked at the sexual activity of 2,936 women over two years, believe that the reason for this is because a lack of sexual activity signals to the body to “invest resources elsewhere”.
They say this is because ovulation is a “costly process” and if the body can better invest energy elsewhere.
Megan Arnot, a PhD candidate at University College London and first author, said in a statement. “The findings of our study suggest that if a woman is not having sex, and there is no chance of pregnancy, then the body ‘chooses’ not to invest in ovulation, as it would be pointless.”
Menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t menstruated in 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant naturally. It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, but can develop before or after this age range.
Most women nearing menopause will have hot flashes, sudden feelings of warmth that spread over the upper body, often with blushing and sweating, insomnia, vaginal dryness, weight gain, depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, reduced libido, or sex drive, increased urination, sore or tender breasts, headaches, racing heart, urinary tract infections (UTIs), reduced muscle mass, painful or stiff joints, reduced bone mass, less full breasts, hair thinning or loss, increased hair growth on other areas of the body, such as the face, neck, chest, and upper back.
It must be noted that the research only pointed out a link and not established a proof a regular is the cause of delayed menopause.
Speaking with Health, the study co-author Ruth Mace, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at University College London, is quick to point out that this is a link—not proof that having sex in your forties and fifties will push back menopause.
“We controlled for a wide range of variables, including estrogen hormone levels, smoking, and BMI (Body Mass Index), and the association remains, but that does not mean that sexual behaviour necessarily delays menopause.”
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