Women are more than twice as likely as men to lack interest in sex when living with a partner, a study of British sexual attitudes suggests.
It found that while men and women lost passion with age, women were often left cold by longer relationships.
Overall, poor health and a lack of emotional closeness affected both men’s and women’s desire for sex.
The findings are based on the experiences of nearly 5,000 men and 6,700 women, published in BMJ Open.
The UK researchers said problems of sexual desire should be treated by looking at the whole person, rather than simply resorting to drugs.
Relate sex therapist Ammanda Major said losing interest in sex wasn’t necessarily abnormal, and there were many different reasons why men’s and women’s needs changed.
“For some, it is a natural and normal place to be, but for others it causes pain and misery,” she said.
In total, 15% of men and 34% of women surveyed said they had lost interest in sex for three months or more in the previous year.
For men, this lack of interest was highest at the ages of 35-44 while for women it peaked between 55 and 64.
But the researchers, from the University of Southampton and University College London, said there was no evidence that the menopause was a factor for women.
However, they did find that having young children at home was a particular turn-off for women.
Poor physical and mental health, poor communication and a lack of emotional connection during sex were the main reasons why men and women lost interest.
In the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in Britain, those who found it “always easy to talk about sex” with their partner were less likely to say they lacked interest.
However, those whose partner had had sexual difficulties, and those who were less happy in their relationship, were more likely to say they had lost interest in sex at some stage, the researchers said.
Among women, the study found that “not sharing the same level of sexual interest with a partner, and not sharing the same sexual likes and dislikes” were also a factor in loss of interest in sex.
Cynthia Graham, professor of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Southampton, said the findings increased understanding of what lay behind men and women’s lack of interest in sex and how to treat it, reports the BBC.
“This highlights the need to assess and – if necessary – treat sexual desire problems in a holistic and relationship-specific, as well as gender-specific way.”
She added that this was a problem that could not be fixed by a pill alone.
“It is important to look beyond anti-depressives,” Prof Graham said.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first-ever drug aimed at boosting female libido, called flibanserin.
Ammanda Major said: “Sex is a very personal thing, and talking about it can be embarrassing. But talking is often the best thing you can do to improve your sex life.”
Five tips to rekindling interest in sex
*Start talking about the issue early on rather than leaving it to fester – ignoring it can lead to other problems and make you feel resentful. If that doesn’t work, confront the reason why you don’t want to talk about it
*Explore other forms of intimacy such as holding hands, talking gently to each other, cuddling and stroking rather than full-on sex
*Feeling as if you are not being heard is a barrier to sex – so make your partner feel respected and important
*Get some additional support by going to see a sex therapist, relationship counsellor or your GP
*Relax – many relationships work very well when they are non-sexual, if it’s an outcome that is reached jointly
UN tasks FG on security, condemns attacks in Damboa
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Myrta Kaulard has urged the Federal Government to step security activities aimed at protecting its people.
The call came in its latest message condemning the twin suicide attacks on June 16, in the town of Damboa, Borno State, that left dozens of people dead and scores injured in one of the deadliest attacks the town has witnessed.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims in Damboa and to the Government and people of Nigeria. We wish the injured a speedy recovery,” said Ms. Kaulard. “Civilians consistently bear the brunt of the conflict and over 200 women, children and men have now been killed in indiscriminate attacks in the north-east since the beginning of the year, including in the town of Mubi last month in Adamawa State. I urge the Government of Nigeria to further step up protection of people.”
The United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday air-lifted by helicopter 11 of the critically wounded from Damboa to Maiduguri to facilitate emergency medical treatment, in support of the state authorities.
Damboa town lies about 90 kilometers south-west of Borno capital Maiduguri.
The Local Government Authority of Damboa currently hosts over 90,000 internally displaced people, 18,000 of which live in Damboa town in five camps for internally displaced people (IDPs).
Similarly, Kaulard said the LGA is one of the areas in Borno that hosts the highest number of IDPs, adding that some 20 humanitarian organisations provide life-saving assistance to the vulnerable women, children and men in Damboa, including food, shelter, medical services, clean water and sanitation on a daily basis.
The town last witnessed an attack by a non-state armed group in July 2016. The town was also taken over by a non-state armed group in mid-2014 and subsequently recaptured by the Nigerian military a few months later.
However, he noted that humanitarian access outside of Damboa town in the rest of Damboa Local Government Area remained limited due to ongoing hostilities and lack of safety assurances.
The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east, that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region, which is one of the most severe in the world today, with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and 6.1 million targeted for humanitarian assistance, the release stated. Humanitarian aid includes the delivery of life-saving assistance and also supports people to kick start their lives.
Why some Nigerians commit suicide – SURPIN coordinator
Dr. Raphael Ogbolu is a consultant psychiatrist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and coordinator of Suicide Research & Prevention Initiative (SURPIN) domiciled in LUTH. In this interview with APPOLONIA ADEYEMI, he discusses factors driving depression, which is the single largest contributor to suicide, why decriminalising suicide is necessary, the need to enact Mental Health Law, tackling stigma around depression as well as suicide, among others
Cases of depression has been on the increase. Why is this so?
Since last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) decided to make depression the theme for the World Health Day and the reason is that the world body had observed that there has been a global increase in the rate of depression, which had increased more than 18 per cent over a 10 year period between 2005 and 2015. It was also the greatest cause of disability worldwide and that has steadily been increasing as a result of the global disease burden.
What it meant was that people with depression were disabled to the point that they could not be productive and this has impact on global economies, beginning with the income of the household. That is why the WHO felt that it was time to begin to break the silence and for people to begin to talk about depression because it is something that is not too difficult to diagnose.
Hence if we talk about it at community level even people in the community would be able to identify the signs of depression among people around them and among themselves.
That is why I am happy that more people are calling the HELPLINES of LUTH’s Suicide Research & Prevention Initiative (SURPIN): 0908-021-7555; 0903-440-0009; 0811-190-9909; and 0701-381-1143, seeking clarifications on issues of depression.
That is one way forward. The hotline is providing affected persons an avenue to anonymously call and come to seek help.
Depression is treatable and it is the single largest contributor to suicide, it means that if we can address depression we can also help to reduce suicide.
What are the signs people should look out for?
If the person experiences low mood, that is sadness that occurs every day or some of the days for at least two weeks.
Also, person would experience loss of interest in the things he/ she used to enjoy doing,, but suddenly finds that when he does those things now, he does not derive pleasure from doing them anymore.
Such persons will begin to experience loss of energy; they are always tired, fatigued and it is always as if their energy is sapped. When you have at least two of these signs in someone for at least two weeks, it is the first warning sign of depression.
Similarly, when you have the core symptoms of depression together with other symptoms of depression, which include a change in sleep pattern, usually insomnia; the person no longer gets enough sleep. He cannot fall asleep or when he falls asleep, he wakes up earlier than he used to, most times it is excessive sleep, but sometimes, it is less sleep.
There is also change in appetite, usually less appetite but most times, affected people begin to eat more. With the loss of appetite there is also a loss of body weight.
The fellow will also feel that he can no longer concentrate; the fellow will be reading the same page over and over because it does not sink.
The person will also begin to feel worthless, helpless and feeling unduly guilty about things he had done in the past and all of a sudden he will begin to feel that it had just happened.
Also, the person begins to feel pessimistic about tomorrow and when that hopelessness comes, the next thing is suicidal thoughts, that is, feeling that life is no longer worth it.
Once one you have any of the first three I mentioned and any two of the other two, definitely the person has depression. These are signs we can easily see in people around us. Such people should seek help for depression.
You highlighted the global increase in depression. What is the trend in Nigeria?
The WHO’s Global Health Observatory, states that in Nigeria, the estimated rate of depression is 3.9 per cent of the population as at 2015. If we are using the last estimated population size of before 2015 which was about 180 million, we should be talking about seven million Nigerians have depression. However, we do know that it is more than that because most of them go undiagnosed. There have been local studies that said it is 3.1 per cent.
What are the causes of this depression?
We all have neuro-transmitters in our brains; they are like chemicals. They regulate our moods. For some people the level of those neuro-transmitters would drop. Once the level drops to a certain point that is when the symptoms of depression manifest. Most of the medicines try to raise the level back to where they should be.
Other things that could make the levels low could be traumatic life experiences including childhood abuse, traumatic experience early in life, chronic medical conditions, poorly treated diabetes, poorly treated hypertension, chronic medical conditions that are stigmatising like epilepsy and HIV. People suffering cancer who feel that life is no longer worth it can go into depression.
Similarly, depression could be hereditary. However, we want to sound a note of caution that even if you inherit the genes does not mean that you must come down with depression; you may never become depressed in life.
However, if you inherit the genes and live’s problems now impact on you, it will bring out that genetic vulnerability and the fellow can now become depressed. Also, we do know that some treatment can make some people who are predisposed to come down with depression.
Some of the drugs we use to treat hypertension could reduce the level of transmitters in the brain.
Also, people who are on long duration of treatment of steroids could put them at risk of depression. A study in Europe found that oral contraceptives for some women can put them at risk of depression because they are steroids, too.
Also, drug abuse, especially people who are struggling with drug abuse can come down with depression. Each time they fail in their attempt to stop, they feel that they are failures; they feel that the drug has ruined them and that their lives are not going on well. Hence, some of them would now become depressed.
Does the poor economic situation have any role in the depression of some Nigerians?
Yes, when I talked about stressors, it includes financial stressors. There are also relationship stressors, medical stressors arising from medical conditions. The irony is that in the majority of those we have seen that have attempted suicide, financial problems are not the most prominent cause. The most prominent cause that we have seen in those that commit suicide are relationship issues: marital or other relationship issues – have featured prominently even more than financial problems.
What are the challenges we face in addressing depression?
We need to have a Mental Health Act. We don’t have Mental Health law. What has been operating since is the Lunacy Act, which has been in place before the 1920s. Obviously, that kind of law cannot cater for today’s problems.
The body of psychiatrists in Nigeria has been pushing for the National Assembly to pass the Bill on Mental Health Law. If we don’t have that theres nothing to guide us in addressing mental illness including depression in the country.
Also, we need to create awareness about depression and maintain our mental health practitioners to practice in the country. Unfortunately, our doctors and nurses are leaving the country in droves, but among doctors leaving, psychiatrists are very attractive outside the country.
Meanwhile we never had enough; we have less than 300 practicing psychiatrists for our population in Nigeria and many of them are leaving every year.
We also have to insist that things like suicide attempts should be de-criminalised. Suicide should not be a crime because people who attempt suicide and don’t succeed will not come for treatment because of fear of being arrested.
One of the biggest risks that somebody will die by suicide is if the fellow had previously attempted it. So, anybody who had previously attempted suicide needs to be treated, but they can’t come forward because it is a crime in Nigeria, which attracts one year imprisonment.
WHO has been pushing for countries around the world to de-criminalise suicide; there are not many of us left. Criminilisation of suicide is negatively affecting suicide prevention.
What’s the way forward?
The way forward is to try and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Once we are able to do that, more people will come forward to seek help, but because of the stigma, most people will not come forward.
The more we create awareness it will go a long way to help. The more we discuss depression, the more people will understand that it is not a crime to suffer depression.
VVF: Rising cases, tears of victims
Despite efforts to repair victims of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) through free medical services in special hospitals charged with responsibilities of repairing fistula conditions in patients across the country, there has been increase in the number of cases in the country.
Lack of adequate manpower and logistics have also hampered fistula repairs for the victims that need treatment.
Obstetric Fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder, caused by prolonged, obstructed labour, which leaves a woman incontinent of urine or faeces or both. Nigeria contributes 40 per cent to the global burden of the disease, according to the World Health Organisation(WHO).
Currently, there are about half a million women in Nigeria suffering VVF, according to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
The UNFPA Nigeria estimates that each year some 50,000-100,000 women sustain an obstetric fistula in the act of trying to bring forth new life. Over 148,000 women in the country were said to be on the waiting list for corrective surgery among those affected by VVF while about 6,000 repairs were performed every year in the country, according to the 2008 data released by Nigerian National Strategic Framework.
These terrifying situations has led to agitations by stakeholders in the health sector on the need for government at all levels to increase funding allocated to the sector and implement provisions of various policies to address the needs of women and children across the country.
Akin Jimoh, Programme Director, Development Communications Network (DEVCOM), during the 2018 Annual International Day to End Fistula (IDEOF), said, “we need to end obstetric fistula in Nigeria by addressing all factors, from poverty, to early childbearing, that predispose women, especially the girl-child to this debilitating condition.”
One of the victims of VVF, Faith Austi from Kogi who narrated her harrowing experience while suffering the disease, told our correspondent that she was dumped by her husband for suffering the disease.
Her words: “I got married on 3rd April, 2015. After four months, I discovered that I have a fibroid. I went to a hospital and the medical doctor told me and my husband that the fibroid is very big and that if I should undergo surgical operation, I may end up having problems. My husband and I opted for alternative native treatment.
“We went to where a local practitioner inserted something in my private part. The object was very hot and peppery. I later started bleeding and bled for three days. Something came out of my body and the woman said she has treated the fibroid while the big one was inside my stomach. The thing she inserted in my body made the fibroid to be too big.
“The doctor told me that I look like someone who is seven months pregnant. The man said I have to go and do an urgent surgical operation and being that we just wedded, there was no money. We were stranded. My husband’s bestman during our wedding is a medical doctor and he was working in Niger State.
“We went to Niger state to do the surgery and by that time, I already had complication. After that operation, I noticed that I menstruated from the bladder; My menstruation was no longer coming from the womb. My husband changed and said he wants to return me to my uncle and that he was tired of me. He took me to my uncle. My uncle took me to a gynecologist who told me that my private part is closed.
“The gynecologist referred me to the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki and I underwent surgical fistula repair. Although, the surgery was done the blockade was still there. The Doctor told me that I can go and be meeting with my husband so that the blockade will be opened. But my husband has already got a girlfriend while I was in the hospital.
He took the car gift he and I got during our wedding, and gave it his girlfriend. People informed me that my husband has gone to the girl’s place to see her parents and relatives for traditional marriage introduction.
Another victim, Chinyere Igwe who hails from Ezza South Local Government area of the state narrated how she was impregnated by a man when she was 14 years in 2009 and she had VVF in the course of delivering her baby and was also dumped by the man responsible for the pregnancy.
She also revealed how another man who promised to marry her after her fistula was repaired also got her impregnated in 2014, later dumped her when she suffered obstetric fistula again while delivering her baby in the hand of a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) whom the man responsible for the pregnancy insisted must deliver her of the baby .
“I was 14 years old when I got pregnant for a man and he promised to marry me. He took me to Ondo State. When it was time for delivery of my baby, I suffered obstructed labour and it resulted to VVF. The man abandoned me and ran away. Later, he came back to me after the fistula was repaired, but another man had come to me and said he wants to marry me and I agreed to marry him.
“I later became pregnant for the man in 2014. But when it was time for delivery, he said my baby must be delivered by a TBA, but I told him my experience in my first pregnancy and how I suffered VVF, which I wouldn’t want to suffer again but he insisted that a TBA must deliver my baby.
“We met the TBA and in the process of delivering the baby, I suffered another obstructed labour and it resulted to another VVF. The man seeing my condition said he can no longer marry me and asked me to leave his house. I returned to my father in the village who couldn’t take care of me because my mother died in that 2014 and my father was very poor.
“It was so difficult for me to cope with life and the most painful thing is that the disease made people to run away from me.
“Everywhere I go to, people run away from me while some made mockery of me because of the odour from my body as a result of the VVF condition. Others quarreled with me, saying that I am causing discomfort for them and so should leave where they are. It became so terrible for me that I have to decide to take away my life.
“I prepared to drink insecticide when a voice from outside called my name and told me not to try it. I went outside and looked around but did not see anybody. Then in the night of the same day, I got a text message in my phone directing me to come to the National Obsteric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki where the fistula was repaired.
Reacting to the decelopment, the Medical Director of National Obstetric Fistula Centre (NOFIC), Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Professor Sunday Adeoye said adequate manpower in some of the hospitals that repair fistula in victims, was the biggest challenge facing the hospitals.
“Right now, the staff strength of NOFIC in Ebonyi State is below 200 and we are really over stressing ourselves because we treat victims of other diseases like cancer, prolapse and others.
“I work in prolapse surgery; I work in cancer screening centre; I treat malignant conditions; I work on Invitro Fertilisation (IVF) section and all other sections in the hospital because of shortage of staff, which is our major constraint.
If we have high staff strength, we will definitely do more than we are doing now. What we are doing now is much but I think that if we have more staff we will do more.
“We are thinking of offering endoscopic services for our IVF patients and even our treated VVF patients who have infertility challenges. Sometimes, the VVF patients after being repaired don’t menstruate anymore; they have what we call secondary amenorrhea and secondary infertility.
Secondary amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding in a woman who had been menstruating, but later stops menstruating for three or more months in the absence of pregnancy, lactation (production of breast milk), cycle suppression with systemic hormonal contraceptive (birth control) pills, or menopause.
“So, to be able to attend to that completely, one of the things you need with the endoscopic services is to look at the cavity of the uterus and see if there were issues within the cavity uterus you need to attend to.
“That endoscpic area is an area we are striving to go into, but the main challenge we have is to be able to man that unit because what we need is more staff. My staff complain every day that they are overworked and it is true when you look at the structure we have put in place and the treatments we render to the patients.
“Consider less than 200 staff working in this large hospital and doing all these things I earlier told you we do here. So, I am stretching the staff and we need more staff.
“The other problem we have is that of funding. We provide free treatment for VVF patients including their feeding. Then, most of the services we render in cancer screening including taking the biopsis, are free. Also, the screening for breast and cervical cancer are free.”
“So, if we look at the overhead we receive monthly, electricity bill alone takes a significant chunk of it. But, we do hope that the subsidised IVF treatment we have started will assist us to attend to some of the financial challenges we are having,” he told New Telegraph.
On the causes of VVF, Adeoye said “If a woman is carrying a baby that is bigger than her pelvic, what she ought to have is a timely cesarean session. If for any reason, she doesn’t get that timely cesarean session, the situation will get worse resulting to obstructed labour and from obstructed labour if she is still not relieved with the cesarean session at that time, the situation will get worse leading to prolong obstructed labour. Thereafter, if she remains in that situation of prolonged obstructed labour, she will subsequently come down with VVF.”
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