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Menopause shouldn’t kill woman’s sex drive

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My wife has been going through menopause for the past eight years. We have not been intimate through these years. When I bring up the subject of intimacy, she quickly states that she doesn’t want to talk about it. She won’t even hug me.

My wife is only 53 years old. It seems like she will be going through menopause for the rest of her life. I have been more than patient, but I would like to have my wife back. If you could give me some advice, it would be greatly appreciated. — J.T.

ANSWER: Menopause can lessen sexual drive, but it shouldn’t completely eliminate it, and menopause doesn’t usually drag on for eight years.

Sexual desire is a complex process that involves hormones, nerves, blood vessels, general health and the brain. The brain is, perhaps, the most important element. Your wife needs professional help. Her total lack of sexual desire at a young age and for so long could be a physical problem, so the family doctor is the place to start. If, as is more likely the case, it is a psychological problem, the doctor can start treatment for that, or can refer her to a specialist.

You have been more than patient.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am 81 and have been getting mammograms for as long as I can remember. My doctor insists I continue to get them. At my age, is it really necessary? — A.C.

ANSWER: I can offer you the recommendations coming from different respected sources. They don’t all agree in all particulars. Did you know that half of all breast cancers are found in women 65 and older? A considerable number are diagnosed in women in their 80s.

The American Cancer Society says there are no age limits for mammograms, and women should continue to have them if they are in good health. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of experts, tells women to have a mammogram yearly or every other year if her life expectancy isn’t limited by other diseases. The American Geriatrics Society recommends that women 75 and older get a mammogram every two to three years if they have a life expectancy of four or more years. Unless studies are done that show no benefit to continued mammograms, I go with those who favor a yearly mammogram for all women in relatively good health.

Breast cancer is a topic that frightens all women. The booklet on that cancer explains it and its detection. To obtain a copy, write to: Dr. Donohue — No. 1101W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I take a fish-oil supplement daily. Can you tell me if these tablets contain mercury, as some fish do? — P.C.

ANSWER: Take your fish-oil supplement without fear. Such supplements contain negligible, if any, amounts of mercury. They won’t make you sick. They could make you well.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

©2009 North America Synd.

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