Methods used in cross-cultural comparisons of sexual symptoms and their determinants
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This is the fourth in a series of reviews of cross-cultural studies of menopausal symptoms. The purpose of this review is to examine methods used in cross-cultural comparisons of sexual symptoms among women at midlife, and to examine the determinants of sexual symptoms and how those determinants were measured. The goal of this review is to make recommendations that will improve cross-cultural comparisons in the future. The review included nine studies that explicitly examined symptoms in different countries or different ethnic groups in the same country and included: Australian/Japanese Midlife Women's Health Study (AJMWHS), Decisions At Menopause Study (DAMeS), Four Major Ethnic Groups (FMEG), Hilo Women's Health Survey (HWHS), Mid-Aged Health in Women from the Indian Subcontinent (MAHWIS), Penn Ovarian Aging Study (POAS), Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), Women's Health in Midlife National Study (WHiMNS), and Women's International Study of Health and Sexuality (WISHeS). Although methods used for assessing sexual symptoms across cultures differed between studies, statistically significant differences were reported. Cross-cultural differences in sexual symptoms exist, and should be measured by including the following symptoms: loss of interest in sex, vaginal dryness, and the Females Sexual Function Index which covers desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain on intercourse. The measurement of these symptoms will provide an evidence-based approach when forming any future menopause symptom list and allow for comparisons across studies.
Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified