Vaginal Dryness, Loss of Libido, Problems Reaching Orgasm – Coping with the Sexual Side Effects of Menopause

menopause sexual problemsMenopause is a natural biological process, which refers to the end of fertility for women. If you haven't had your menstruation consecutively for 12 months, you have probably attained menopause. The process, which usually occurs around the age of 50 in most women, is characterized by various symptoms which include hot flashes, thinning of bones, wrinkling of the skin, mood swings, sleep disturbances and sexual side-effects.

The sexual side-effects of menopause often make women feel less feminine and less sexual. These side-effects, which include vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and difficulties reaching an orgasm, can be both physical and emotional in nature. Here is an insight into how you can effectively cope with these sexual problems that may arise after menopause.

Over-The-Counter Lubricants and Moisturizers

A decline in the production of estrogen leads to thinning and inflammation in the vaginal walls. This condition, which is often called vaginal atrophy, is responsible for the vaginal dryness that women feel after menopause. Many women also report itching and stinging in the area around the vagina. Sexual intercourse becomes quite uncomfortable due to vaginal dryness.

Women try using vinegar, yogurt, soaps and hand lotions to relieve the irritation of vaginal dryness, however, these products can actually cause further irritation and should be avoided.

Instead, over-the-counter products such as lubricants and moisturizers can be used to relieve vaginal dryness. Whereas lubricants are used just before intercourse, moisturizers are used on an ongoing basis to prevent discomfort in the vaginal area.

Additionally, nowadays you can find gels and creams that are formulated not only to lubricate but also to improve arousal and sexual response (e.g. HerSolution Gel).

Herbs for Coping with Menopausal Symptoms

Although not much evidence is available on their effectiveness when used alone, there are certain herbal supplements that can help a woman cope with menopausal symptoms, especially the loss of sexual drive and vaginal dryness. These include horny goat weed (epimedium), tribulus terrestris, mucuna pruriens, black cohosh, maca root, dong quai and wild yam.

Make sure to consult your physician before taking any of these herbs on your own  - to check whether they may interfere with the effects of other medications you are taking and to make sure you are taking the right doses. To ensure the latter, consider taking ready-made libido enhancement supplements of proven quality that will contain the right blend of herbals, nutrients, and aphrodisiacs, at the right dosages and proportions.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

The decline in the production of female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, is responsible for the different menopausal symptoms. Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT involves giving natural or synthetic sex hormones to women to replace these female sex hormones.

HRT is usually available as tablets, gels or patches. All of these products contain natural or synthetic estrogen. Often, these will also contain a hormone that is similar in action to the female hormone progesterone.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

There are certain lifestyle changes that can also help increase your sex drive and arousal. Here is a list of these changes that you could try:

  • Often, the sexual side-effects such as loss of sexual desire, vaginal dryness and problems reaching orgasm, are a result of a lack of arousal in women. An increase in foreplay can often help a woman feel sexually aroused after menopause.

  • Symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats during night can often make the women tired, fatigue and irritable, things that will only turn her off sex. To relax and get more sleep, women can try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation.

  • Exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes every day will not only protect you from various chronic diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis, but also keep you in the mood for sexual activity. It will also help reduce stress and anxiety. Kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor and help combat these sexual side-effects.

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is essential to combat these menopausal side-effects. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts and make sure to consume 1200-1500 mg of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D a day. You may also need calcium or vitamin supplements if the side-effects are too severe.

  • Often, women feel less feminine and sexual after menopause. This mental attitude often increases the discomfort associated with the physical symptoms of menopause. So, just take good care of yourself. Just because you are no longer fertile, does not make you less of a woman. All you need to do is enjoy your sexuality and femininity as usual.

coping with menopauseThere are many women who feel more sexual and liberated once they reach menopause because they don't have to go through the discomfort of menstrual periods and the fear of getting pregnant anymore.

So, all you need to do is accept that although you have reached menopause, you are still as much feminine and sexual as before.

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