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
New blood test shows promise for early autism detection
Scientists yesterday said a new blood and urine test that could detect autism early in children’s urine and blood, was underway.
The researchers from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom (UK), said their test could lead to earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a major factor that was key in the management of children living with the condition.
A new study, which unveiled this development, was published in the Molecular Autism journal. Autism, or ASD, refers to a range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and non-verbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.
Diagnosing autism over the years, especially in developing countries including Nigeria, has been a difficult task and this, in addition to poor awareness about the condition, poverty and stigma, had contributed to make many cases go undiagnosed until very late when affected children had become adults.
However, scientific evidence showed that early detection of autism and medical intervention, often resulted in good treatment outcomes, enabling many autistic children achieve independent living. Currently, there were no biological tests that can spot autism, which was often diagnosed through behavioural assessments by clinicians.
Often the personnel and equipment for conducting these tests were available in mainly health facilities located mostly in urban centres, leaving thousands of autistic kids from poor background in rural farto- reach communities, unable to access the therapy. In the new study, researchers tested children with and without autism and found higher levels of protein damage in those with the disorder.
They looked for chemical differences in the blood and urine of 38 autistic children and 31 children without the condition, all aged between five and 12. In those with autism they found higher levels of protein damage, particularly in the blood plasma, which they said were associated with illhealth.
Dr. Naila Rabbani from the University of Warwick, who led the study, said the tests could ultimately be used by doctors to diagnose autism earlier in childhood by detecting these markers. Rabbani added that she hoped the tests could also eventually reveal some of the factors that cause autism and improve its diagnosis.
Scientists link western diet with kidney stones
Scientists said western diet, widely acclaimed to be unhealthy, could be linked to high prevalence of kidney stones. A study by the Mayo Clinic found kidney stones increased more than 300 per cent in women and 100 per cent in men within 30 years.
Although, the increase in kidney stones can in part be explained by improvements in medical imaging technology, medical experts linked it to the same dietary factors driving increases in colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys.
Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of the urinary tract — from kidneys to the bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallise and stick together.
Passing kidney stones are hard masses that form in the kidneys and take a painful route through the urinary tract when exiting the body. Passing out kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage if they’re recognised in a timely fashion.
Depending on the situation, one may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances — for example, if stones become lodged in the urinary tract, are associated with a urinary infection or cause complications — surgery may be needed.
The Mayo study examined first-time presenters of kidney stones from residents in Olmsted County, Minnesota in the United States (US), from 1984 to 2012, focusing specifically on differences between gender and age group. Previous studies of kidney stones were less accurate because they relied on diagnostic codes or survey questions to identify patients with stones.
‘30% of Nigerians suffer tooth decay’
Dr. Olurotimi Olojede is the former President of the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA) and the Secretary General of the African Regional Organisagion of World Dental Federation. In this interview with APPOLONIA ADEYEMI, he discusses factors fueling tooth decay, mouth odour, teeth extraction and measures to improve oral health generally
What are the common tooth problems in Nigeria?
Basically, in Nigeria, we have two major tooth problems. One has to do with the hard tooth structure and the second is the soft tissue. The hard tooth structure has to do with any disease that will affect the enamel. We call it cavity conformation or dental caries and we have the disease of the soft tissues or supporting structures of the teeth. It may be the gum, which is the periodontal disease and other parts of the tooth.
Race and environmental factors tend to affect the prevalence or occurrence of these dental problems at a particular point in time in different environments.
There is also oral cancer. Some may be benign while some are malignant.
Are they very common?
They are common; the only challenge we have is that patients don’t come to the hospital because some of the oral cancers are not painful at the onset and the swelling is gradual.
Some people carry the swelling for between eight to ten years and sometimes fifteen years until when they start to have deformation or cosmetic embarrassment. That’s when they seek medical advice and by that time it’s almost late. In fact, a very serious damage must have been done and surgery to correct that is very expensive.
What is the burden of dental caries in terms of available data?
If we are to look at available data, we will be talking about 25 per cent to 30 per cent of our population that comes down with dental caries.
Dental caries or cavities, which are also known as tooth decay, is a breakdown of teeth due to acids made by bacteria.
The cavities may be a number of different colours from yellow to black. Symptoms may include pain and difficulty with eating.
It’s a cross-sectional thing; it cuts across male, female, children and adults. If children takes things that will lead to it, it will happen. If adults, too take some of those things that will lead to it, adults too will develop it.
Specifically, what are the causes?
The four major things interplay in the development of dental caries; if one is missing out of those four major things, dental caries will not occur.
Number one is that it is not the quantity, but the frequency of the intake of refined sugar that is behind it.
Secondly, a susceptible tooth could also develop caries; that is to say that some teeth are made to have caries because of some things happening in them.
Then, the immunity of the patients is also very important and finally, bacteria in the saliva is another major problem leading to caries. All of us have bacteria in our saliva. So, when there are those enabling environment in the patient’s mouth, the patient will develop caries. We all have different species of bacteria in our mouth. Those four factors are very germane to the development of caries.
How can people prevent developing caries?
That’s why I said, it is not the quantity of refined sugars consumed that causes it, but the frequency. Even if you are taking it in small quantity, but also taking it frequently, the refined sugar will increase your risk of developing tooth decay. If you engage in taking refined sugar from morning till night, under one month, you will develop carries. Whereas, I might just sit down before my wife’s refrigerator before my lunch and take all the cakes there. You will realize that I will not have dental caries while someone taking tom-tom on regular basis throughout the day will have dental caries.
So, it’s the frequency of the intake of sugary diet that fuels tooth decay. For example, if before you leave your house in the morning, you drank tea or coffee with sugar and milk; When you get to work, you had another coffee or at meeting, they served you meat pie and soft drinks.
Thereafter in the afternoon you say, “Oh!, I’m really hungry. Can I have soft drinks,” which also contains refined sugar. Similarly, before you go to bed, you say, “Oh! You must give me my coffee” with milk and sugar. Before you know it, you have challenged your mouth regularly, eight to twelve hours with sugary substances.
Therefore, if you do that consistently for one month, you will have to get a good deal with your dentist.
One paramount method of prevention is, whether there is complaint or not, you must make sure you see your dentist every six months or twice a year.
You must also brush your teeth twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed at night.
Similarly, you must make sure that you avoid what is called ‘in-between’ meals. You have taken breakfast, then you see somebody taking chin-chin, you take a little; someone is eating When you’ve taken your breakfast, you should relax. When you want to take snacks, take snacks and rinse your mouth and end it there.
Much more than that, you ought to involve in principles of hygiene; it’s very important and that is why I said that you shouldn’t wait until you a have a complaint before you visit your dentist.
In addition, you should use what is called medium toothbrush. In the market, there are trademarks, showing types of toothbrush; we have soft, medium and hard brushes.
Look on the packet, you will see medium for adults and then, you ask your dentist to teach you how to brush your teeth. It’s very important; we call it oral hygiene instruction.
If you do all that, you can keep your teeth for a lifetime, except you have trauma.
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