As one goes through menopause, the libido or sex drive is ever-changing. Some women may experience a dip in the sex drive, while others experience an increase in libido. Not all women go through a dwindling desire, although it is universal. A lower libido during menopause signals decreased hormonal levels.
A fall in hormonal levels can also initiate vaginal dryness and tightness. This can lead to pain during sex. Menopause can come with its fair share of issues. A dried-up sex drive is one of them!
Menopause and Libido
Decreased hormonal levels can trigger more than just a tight vagina. Symptoms include mood swings, depression, weight gain, and hot flashes. For women experiencing a loss of libido, sex drive can be revved up through lifestyle changes or even sex aids such as lubricants. If home-based remedies don’t help, try a doctor! It’s essential to understand menopause can impact the libido in different ways. During the menopausal period, estrogen and testosterone levels both diminish. This comes in the form of sexual arousal.
Getting into the mood for sex is not the only problem. Estrogen decrease can trigger vaginal dryness, and lower estrogen levels lead to a drop in blood supply in the vagina. This drop can negatively affect vaginal lubrication because it leads to the thinning of the wall, called vaginal atrophy. Vaginal dryness and atrophy cause sexual discomfort.
Other physical changes can also impact menopause(1), and through it, your libido. For instance, many women gain massive weight during menopause. Discomfort with the body decreases the desire for sex. Night sweats and hot flashes may follow. Such symptoms can contribute to flagging energy levels. Depression and irritability can also turn you off from sex.
[ Read: Natural Treatments for Menopause ]
Possible Lines of Treatment
If you are menopausal and notice a change in the libido, the doctor can help you unearth the factors causing these changes. Solutions suggested may include home remedies, OTC (over the counter) medicines, and prescription medicines. Depending on why the sex drive has decreased, doctors may refer you to another professional for help. For example, recommending a sex therapist or couples counseling may be on the anvil. Reduced libido and relationship issues can be tackled, that way.
1. Talking to Your Doctor
Talking with the doctor about sex can be challenging, especially if you are protective of your privacy. Let your guard down, because it is essential for the doctor to understand what could be the reason behind your dipping libido.
It’s the doctor’s job to take care of what you need without engaging in a judgmental or condescending attitude. If you still feel discomfort, here are some tips to dispel the anxiety:
Be accurate about what your problem is. It is will also help the doctor to have notes on your symptoms, including what makes individuals feel better or worse and how it feels when this occurs.
Jot Down Questions:
Specifically, carry a set of questions to your appointment. It can help to guide the conversation instead of letting it be reduced to an awkward interaction. You will need help in writing down questions beforehand to get the information you need and help to guide the conversation.
Be clear that the doctor may ask you questions. They can even check on the duration of symptoms, distress, or pain you have experienced, treatments you have tried, and whether your interest in sex has changed.
Check With your Healthcare Team:
Generally, you may see a healthcare team or a nursing professional beforehand. Talk to them about your hesitation and let the doctor know about how you may find the interview challenge.
[ Read: Home Remedies for Menopause ]
2. Hormone Replacement Therapy
One way to treat underlying hormonal changes is through hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen pills can lower vaginal dryness(2) and atrophy by replacing hormones the body is no longer interested in making. There are many risks of estrogen therapy, and this includes blood clots, breast cancer, and heart attacks.
Choose an estrogen cream or topical substance or vaginal ring for the best outcomes. Besides, moderate testosterone doses can also help in raising the libido. However, again, these come with side effects like excessive hair growth, acne, and cholesterol issues.
3. Vaginal Lubricants
A lubricant for the vaginal walls can help in erasing the dryness and making sex more comfortable. It increases the libido if pain or discomfort during intercourse affects libidinal urges.
Combat weight gain, mood issues, and low libido in one shot by exercising when you are menopausal. Endorphins release positive emotions and reduce stress. If you’re starting exercise, work through 30 minutes a day and raise this by 10 minutes per day till your endurance is built up.
5. Communicate and Focus on Intimacy
Libido loss during menopause is due to physical symptoms. But feeling more connected with your partner and keeping your heart open can counter this. Keep the channels of communication open. Be honest about intimacy issues. Let each other know what you are going through, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Sex is one way to feel close to your partner. Other non-sexual acts can heighten the bond between your partner and you.
[ Read: Vitamins for Menopause ]
6. Try Kegels
Kegel exercises can tighten the pelvic muscles and enhance sexual sensations. To perform this exercise, do pelvic floor muscles. Locate the correct muscles. Contract your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the contraction for 5 seconds. Slowly release the position for another 5 seconds. Work this move ten times, thrice a day for best results.
Thus, therapy is not the only solution. Other steps can also be taken to manage mood symptoms of menopause and deal with decreased libido. A loss of libido is due to reduced hormone levels. Before and post the menopause, hormonal levels fall. This means symptoms like vaginal dryness can strike. Other symptoms leading to the loss of libido include night sweats. So combating the physical symptoms along with mental equations can point the way for a healthier sex drive during menopause.