Decreased Sexual Desire after Menopause

decreased libido after menopauseMenopause is the time when your periods stop and you are no longer able to have babies. This can occur anywhere between the ages of 47-55.

As you near menopause, the levels of estrogen in your body begin to decline. Estrogen is the key sex hormone produced by the ovaries. The decrease in the production of estrogen can lead to various effects on the body. These include dryness in the vagina and the vulva, breasts begin to sag, and the skin becomes less elastic.

Women also tend to become prone to urinary infections during this time. The loss of bone density makes you more vulnerable to diseases such as osteoporosis.

Besides the above effects, you may also experience some other unpleasant side-effects of the menopausal hormonal balance. These include hot flushes, excessive sweating at night, and lack of sexual desire and arousal.

For some women, menopause does not bring about many significant side effects. In fact, for some, menopause translates into total sexual freedom since they no longer have to worry about their menstrual periods and about getting pregnant. However, for others, these hormonal changes can prove to be very unpleasant, especially since it may just kill their libido.

How Does Menopause Decrease Sex Drive?

The hormonal imbalances that occur during menopause can really destroy your sexual life. To begin with, if you are experiencing night sweats and hot flushes, you are not going to be interested in sex at all. You are already feeling an unbearable level of heat, sweating profusely, and feeling as if the walls are closing in on you. You would surely not be interested in having any contact with your spouse, let alone have sexual intercourse.

Combine this with the low levels of androgens, such as testosterone, and your sex drive will be totally absent. Androgens, especially testosterone are sex hormones that play a key role in boosting your sex drive. With menopause, the levels of these hormones tend to decrease, making you feel less interested in sex.

Then there is estrogen, a female sex hormone that prepares your body for sexual intercourse. Estrogen deficiency will lead to vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls. When a woman is aroused, a fluid is released in her vagina that lubricates it. If you have low sex drive, you are not going to be adequately aroused.

Combine it with the deficiency of estrogen, and sexual intercourse is not going to be enjoyable for you. You won't be able to reach orgasm. To top it all, sex may actually turn out to be painful due to the lack of lubrication. It may lead to soreness, burning or irritation in the vaginal area, further reducing your desire for sex.

Menopause may also cause certain psychological symptoms such as mood swings, depression and insomnia. These further tend to kill the mood for any kind of sexual activity.

Some women may also experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI), that is, you may pass urine while having sex or during an orgasm. This can make the woman feel embarrassed and she may avoid having sex in future.

The lack of desire for sex will also complicate relationships and husbands may begin to feel that their wives do not want them any more. This feeling of rejection may cause problems in relationships and communication may breakdown. So, while the woman is already going through a tough time physiologically, the lack of emotional closeness furthers reduces her desire for sex.

How to Treat Low Sexual Desire During Menopause

For women who experience these unpleasant side effects, things can get tough for a while. However, with proper help from a qualified physician, you can expect to get your sexual desire back.

Your physician may suggest hormonal replacement therapy (HRT).

This may include estrogen replacement therapy. Estrogen therapy can either be systemic or local.

  • Systemic therapy involves the intake of pills or placing a patch or gel in an area of the body from where it gets absorbed in the body. Systemic therapy affects the brain function and mood factors that control the sexual response in a woman.

  • Local estrogen therapy involves applying a vaginal cream or placing a slow-releasing suppository or ring in the vagina. These products are supposed to increase blood flow to the area and increase your desire for sex.

You may even be suggested to take a combination of estrogen and progesterone therapy for better results.

Although this is usually the first step in treating low sexual desire in menopausal women, estrogen therapy may not always be effective in boosting your libido. However, it does tend to reduce symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flushes and night sweating. This may just make sex less painful and improve your interest in sex a little in an indirect way.

Some physicians may prescribe testosterone therapy for improving sex drive. However, this hasn't been as yet approved for women, especially since the amount needed for women is much less than that needed for men. So, if your doctor does prescribe this for you, make sure to report any side effects immediately.

A combination of estrogen and testosterone is another form of therapy that is often tried for menopausal women, and yet again, another treatment that doesn’t really address libido enhancement.

Instead of prescribing hormonal replacement therapies many physicians recommend side-effects-free treatments based on only natural ingredients. This may include natural lubricants to alleviate vaginal dryness and enhance arousal, and all-natural libido enhancement supplement pills to combat the hormonal, nutritional, and stress-induced imbalances and increase sexual desire.

Besides getting treatment for improving your sex drive, you should also take steps to improve intimacy with your partner. You should educate yourself about the physiological, hormonal, and psychological changes that you are going through at this stage and also discuss it with your partner. This way, he will know that your lack of sex drive is not because of him but because of the changes that your body is going through.

Trying romantic dinners, massages, and working on your sexual touch can also help in improving your intimacy and boosting your desire for sex. To reduce pain during and after intercourse, try taking a warm bath just before sex and using a vaginal lubricant.

Always keep in mind that lack of menstruation does not mean that you are no longer a sexual being. It just means that your periods have stopped and you can enjoy sex much more than you ever had.

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