- Women's Health
How to Improve Sex after Menopause
Going through menopause? Are you having difficulties with your sex life? You are not alone. Up to half of all women report sexual problems both during and after menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Many woman in their 40's to 60's, the years before and after menopause, report that they see a decrease in their sex drive, complain of pain during intercourse and other complications. This is a common problem and many want to blame it on the decrease of hormones. Hormones can be a factor but they aren't the only problem contributing to this problem. The causes of sexual disfunction are complex. I will focus on a few problems for you and provide options on how to fix them.
Loss of Sex Drive
This is the most common complaint of menopausal woman and for some of us, it can get so severe, that it may lead to a diagnosis of hypoactive sexual desire disorder. As women go through menopause, the ovaries lose their ability to produce hormones, mostly estrogen and testosterone. Because of this, the vaginal walls, clitoris and vulva lose their pliability and elasticity and are often dry and irritated easily. Less estrogen also means, less blood flow to the vagina.
To help women with this, HRT or hormone replacement therapy is often used. Of course, you need to work closely with your physician to see if this is an appropriate approach for you, and if so, work on prescribing the correct hormone for you. Hormone replacement isn't the only treatment for this, according to Medical Science Review, recent studies are proving that diet and lifestyle change can also help these issues as well.
At this point in our lives, we are deep within our careers, marriage, raising our families, etc. Whatever your situation is, these situations can cause us stress and put the brakes on our sex lives. Because of our increase in stress, we avoid sex and intimacy, and in turn, tension is put on our relationships. I know all too well that menopause can cause us stress, make us feel like we're less of a woman and be so frustrating at times. Our bodies are changing and we just want our old selves back.
To help with this, take the focus off of sex and focus more on you as a person and then as a couple. Try using more foreplay or sex play, such as massages, cuddling, sensual touch or oral sex. You may also want to look into short term couple therapy or sexual therapy for some added ideas and advice. Stress is a part of all of our lives and we all need to manage it. Research has proven that it not only affects our health but it can also affect our mood and relationships with others and how we look at ourselves.
Pain during intercourse
Like discussed earlier, the decrease in estrogen and testosterone can cause dryness in the vagina. To help this you can use lubricants. When picking a lubricant, try and stick to a water based and natural lubricant. You want to try and stay away from latex based, in case you are sensitive or allergic to them.
Overcoming difficulties to pleasure
With time, most menopausal women overcome the obstacles associated with menopause and learn to cope and enjoy sex. The ability to communicate effectively with your partner, is essential to maintaining a healthy sexual relationship. It is also important for couples to realize and understand, as women age, it takes longer and more stimulation for us to become aroused and reach orgasm. This is sometime blamed on a drop in androgens, hormones found in both men and women.
To help this, it is important to know that there is no FDA approved hormone therapy, but some doctors prescribe creams. The major problem with this are the side effects. Some women experience acne and excess body and facial hair
Regardless, of what you are experiencing, it is important to realize, to always be mindful of your diet, sleep and exercise. These three factors can aid in restoring your libido. Many women report that once they are completely through menopause, they experience an increase in sexual desire and pleasure.
There is hope ladies!