Study reveals that menopause declines sexual functioning in women. [Representational image]

According to a research, called Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a remarkable decline in the sexual functioning was reported by women 20 months prior to getting menopause.

This was even though sexual functioning is moderately to extremely important for 75 percent of 1,390 middle-aged women, the study revealed.

It was found that this drop in sexual functioning prevailed for an entire year after their last period and it continued at a lower rate over the next five years, Psych Central reported.

"Sexual functioning in women declines with age, and there has been much debate about how much this is due to menopause, ageing or other physical, psychological or social factors," said the study's lead author, Nancy Avis, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.

"Our findings support that menopause has a negative effect on sexual functioning in many women," she added, as reported by the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The women who underwent the womb removal operation called hysterectomy experienced the same, but it was not the same for women prior to the operation.

This study revealed that race and ethnicity are found to be responsible for impacting sexual drive in women too. Though the study is based on self-reporting of women, Japanese women were found to experience a greater decline, while African-American women were found to be lesser affected when compared to the White women, as per the study.

"It is important for women and their health care providers to understand all the factors that may impact women's experience of sex in relation to both the natural menopausal transition and hysterectomy, and we hope our findings will contribute to better understanding in this area," Avis concluded.