The loss of estrogen and testosterone following menopause can lead to changes in a woman’s body and sexual drive. Dr. Niti Kautish, Senior Consultant, Gynecology, Fortis Escorts Hospital speaks about the effects that this phase of life can have on your sex life.
Women at menopausal and postmenopausal stages may notice they are not as easily aroused, and they may be less sensitive to touching and stroking. That can lead to a diminishing interest in sex. Although menopause may have some negative effects on sexual function, this is not always the case.
Each woman’s experience of menopause is unique; not all women have the same symptoms or experience these symptoms with the same degree of severity. Decrease in estrogen levels after menopause can cause a decrease in libido. Vaginal dryness is another symptom of menopause that can have an impact on sexual function. Other symptoms of menopause, such as trouble sleeping and mood swings, can also interfere with enjoyment of sexual activity.
According to one review, the reported rates of sexual problems in postmenopausal women are between 68 and 86.5 percent. This range is much higher than in all women in general, which is estimated to be between 25 and 63 percent.
A decrease in estrogen levels can result in reduced blood flow to the vagina, which can cause the tissues of the vagina and labia to become thinner, resulting in a woman becoming less sensitive to sexual stimulation. A decrease in blood flow also affects vaginal lubrication and overall arousal. Which means a woman may not enjoy sex as much and may have difficulty achieving orgasm. Sex may be uncomfortable or even painful.
Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause can also affect a woman’s mental health, which in turn, causes a decrease in her libido. Stress also impacts a woman’s libido, as she may be juggling a job, parenting, and caring for aging parents. The changes in hormone levels, a woman may experience during menopause may make her irritable or depressed, making daily stress more difficult to handle.
According to an article published in the Journal of Women’s Health, women who have more significant side effects associated with menopause are more likely to report lower libido levels. Examples of these side effects include hot flashes, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.
Other factors for a reduced libido include:
history of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression
history of smoking
engaging in low levels of physical activity
You should talk to your doctor about how these conditions could affect your sex drive. There are several steps you can take to increase your libido. These include medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.
If you experience changes to vaginal tissue, such as thinning and dryness, consider estrogen therapy.
Prescription estrogen can be applied directly to the vagina in the form of creams, pills, or vaginal rings. These usually contain lower doses of estrogen than regular birth control pills.
If you’re thinking about hormone replacement therapy discuss it with her doctor before starting to take any medication.
You may not experience any changes in her sex drive after using estrogen or testosterone therapies.
Some benefit from using water-soluble lubricants during sex. These can be purchased over-the-counter at most drugstores.
However, women non-water soluble and silicone-based lubricants, as these can break down condoms used to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Increasing physical activity, such as getting 30 minutes or more of exercise on a routine basis, may help reduce menopause-related symptoms, including a low libido.
Eating a healthy diet can also enhance a person’s overall sense of wellbeing.
Changing sexual habits
There are many ways a person can foster a sense of intimacy with their partner, including:
Changing sexual routines: Try spending extended periods on foreplay, use vibrators or other sex toys to enhance an intimate experience, or engage in sexual activity or touching without the goal of orgasm.
Relieving stress together: There are many stress-relieving techniques a couple can do outside of the bedroom to increase intimacy. Examples include going on planned dates together, taking a walk, or spending time doing hobbies together, such as exercise, crafts, or cooking.
Practicing masturbation: Spending time alone and exploring what types of touch and sexual stimulation work well for an individual can help them talk to a partner about their needs and preferences. It can also help a person feel more comfortable with sexual activity without the pressure of a partner
Some women use natural supplements to try to increase their libido. It is important to keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate herbs and supplements, so choose a reputable brand. Some natural remedies include:
1. black cohosh
2. red clover
Discuss these remedies with a doctor before taking them to ensure they will not interact negatively with other prescriptions and supplements. Soy contains estrogen, so it may react with other Estrogen therapies
When to see a doctor
Speak to your doctor whenever peri menopausal or menopause is having a significant impact on you day-to-day activities, including sex. Speaking with a doctor can also rule out any other underlying medical conditions that may cause a reduced libido. These conditions include urinary tract infections, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, or pelvic floor dysfunction.
Many women find that menopause is a time to celebrate a new phase of life, rather than grieving lost youth. After transitioning through menopause, women will not have any more periods or symptoms of PMS. They will also be able to have sex without worrying about pregnancies. Menopause should be used as a time to explore sources of pleasure and joy, fill yourself with positive thoughts, love yourself, and revive your sex life.
Tips to tackle menopause
Use lubricants during intimacy
Plan dates and intimacy
Talk to your doctor about any problems