Vegans Report Less Bothersome Sexual Symptoms in Perimenopause and Menopause
OBJECTIVES: To determine if diet choice (vegan vs. omnivore) and specific food consumption are associated with sexual menopausal symptoms and sexual behavior frequency.
STUDY DESIGN: In a cross-sectional design, women aged 45 to 80 completed an online survey.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measure was the sexual symptoms subscale of the Menopause Quality of Life Questionnaire. Additionally, 2 sexual frequency variables (masturbation and intercourse) were based on responses to the Menopause Health Questionnaire.
RESULTS: Correlations performed on 277 omnivores and 195 vegans in peri- or postmenopause showed that meat, fish, poultry intakes and dairy intake were positively associated with sexual symptom scores while vegetable and high omega-3 plant food intakes were negatively associated with sexual symptom scores. For those with complete
data (n= 429)—87 women in perimenopause and 342 in postmenopause—general linear modeling was conducted with age, exercise level, age at menopause, use of hormone replacement therapy, and presence of sex organs as covariates. ere was a significant main effect of diet, with vegans reporting less bothersome sexual symptoms than omnivores, and a significant interaction of diet and menopausal status, with the difference between vegans and omnivores greater in peri- than postmenopausal women. When specific food groups were entered into the second and third steps, vegetable intake and cruciferous vegetable consumption were associated with less severe sexual menopausal symptoms. Diet type was not significantly related to sexual behavior frequency.
CONCLUSIONS: Greater plant food and reduced animal food consumption is linked to less severe sexual changes in menopause.