Menopause is the stage of life when a woman’s ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, causing menstruation and the ability to reproduce to cease. Working through the phases of menopause can be challenging, because it affects nearly every aspect of a woman’s life, including her sexuality.
How Does Menopause Affect a Woman’s Sex Drive?
In menopause, a woman’s body produces less of estrogen and testosterone. For this reason, many women may find they have a gradual decrease in sexual arousal as they go through menopause. If they do engage in intercourse, achieving orgasm can be more difficult or unsatisfying. Since menopause may bring along hot flashes and mood swings, many women may find it hard to get in the mood for sexual relations at all.
Other menopausal side effects have an impact on a woman’s sex drive as well. A lower estrogen level means less blood flow to the vaginal region. That can cause a decrease in vaginal lubrication, making sex painful. Menopause also can cause bladder control problems, lead to depression, increase stress or disturb sleep. All these negative side effects can have a detrimental effect on a woman’s desire for sex.
On the other hand, since menopause is experienced differently by every woman, some may not suffer from these issues at all. In fact, some women may see a rise in sexual desire, due to the freedom from worry over becoming pregnant.
Can You Improve Your Sex Life After Menopause?
Fortunately, there are many ways you can improve your sex life and increase sexual desire before, during and after menopause.
First, if you have vaginal dryness, try using a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly during intercourse. There are also vaginal moisturizers available to help restore lubrication. Estrogen therapy targeted toward the vagina may also be effective, and multiple medications are available that can decrease pain caused by vaginal dryness.
You also can assess your current lifestyle. Talk with your doctor about your exercise routine and diet. You may be able to make minor changes that help you become healthier and improve your mood. Exercising Kegel muscles can help increase vaginal sensation as well.
Treating Underlying Medical Conditions
While menopause may be blamed for a decrease in sexual desire, it may not always be the culprit. Whenever you feel that your sex life is declining due to physical reasons, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Some of the side effects normally attributed to menopause may in fact be caused by medications or another condition.
Get the personalized help you need to improve your sex life. Contact Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center today to make an appointment and see a medical provider who can answer all of your questions about menopause and how it affects sexuality.