Updated:01/15/2020 01: 15h
Practicing sex can be a satisfactory therapy to delay menopause. This is confirmed by research published in the "Royal Society Open Science" magazine carried out in about 3,000 women by a team from the University College of London (United Kingdom) that has seen that those who have sex weekly or monthly have a lower risk of menopause occurring early.
In the study, women who claimed to have sex – sexual relations, oral sex, caresses and sexual caresses or self-stimulation – at least once a week were 28% less likely to have had menopause at any age than those who did less than once a month.
The research is based on data from 2,936 women who participated in the 'SWAN Study', the largest, most diverse and representative longitudinal cohort study available to investigate aspects related to the onset of menopause.
For the first author of the study, Megan Arnot, the results "suggest that if a woman does not have sex and there is no possibility of pregnancy, the body 'chooses' not to invest in ovulation, as it would be useless. It could be a biological energy compensation between investing energy in ovulation or doing it somewhere else, such as staying active taking care of grandchildren ».
It is what has been called the 'grandmother's hypothesis; that is, the theory according to which humans achieved greater life expectancy because grandmothers helped in the feeding of grandchildren. Arnot explains that what happens is that “women cease their fertility to invest more time in their family. Menopause, he notes, originally evolved in humans to reduce reproductive conflict between different generations of women and allow older women to increase their inclusive physical condition by investing in their grandchildren.
During ovulation, a woman's immune system is affected, which makes the body more susceptible to disease. And, because there is no sexual intercourse, and therefore there is little chance of a pregnancy, the body interprets as unprofitable to allocate energy to an expensive process, especially if there is the option of investing resources in existing family members, says the researcher
The women participating in the survey responded to a questionnaire about the number of sexual relations with their partner in the last six months, the frequency of these and even the type (oral sex, sexual contact or caresses) and if they had masturbated in this period of time. The majority of women (64%) claimed to have a weekly sexual activity (64%).
Because the average age at the first interview was 45 years, none had entered menopause, but 46% were already beginning to experience menopausal symptoms, such as changes in the menstrual cycle and hot flashes and 54% were premenopausal – with regular cycles without symptoms of peri-menopause or menopause.
The interviews were conducted over a period of ten years, during which 1,324 (45%) of the 2,936 women experienced a natural menopause at an average age of 52 years.
But when they analyzed the association between sexual frequency and the age of onset of natural menopause, the researchers saw at any age, women who had sex at least once a week were 28% less likely to experience menopause in comparison with those who had sex less than once a month.
In addition, those who had sex each month were 19% less likely to experience menopause at any age compared to those who did less than once a month.
Ruth Mace, study leader, concludes: «Menopause is inevitable and there is no intervention that prevents reproductive cessation. However, these results suggest that the time of menopause may be adaptive in response to the likelihood of becoming pregnant ».
. (tagsToTranslate) sex (t) woman (t) menopause