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How Does Menopause Affect Sex for Women?
It's very common for women going through menopause to experience a decrease in libido and sex drive. Because a woman stops ovulating once she's experienced menopause, she loses that extra hormone boost that results in arousal.
Menopause and sex drive are tightly intertwined. The decrease in estrogen during menopause can cause the vaginal tissue and walls to become dry and irritable. This can make intercourse painful and uncomfortable. The less a woman has sex after menopause, the more painful it will be when she does have sex. The tissues do not lubricate as well as before.
Physical discomfort, however, is not the only reason a woman's sex drive can plummet during menopause. Once in menopause, women often become emotional about the "life change" and the aging process. A woman might feel less sexy, for example, because of weight gain caused by menopause.
A woman who previously enjoyed an active sex life may find it frustrating that, after menopause, her sex drive is not what it used to be. For some, however, the lack of sex drive isn't an issue at all.
Reclaiming your sex life after menopause
Decreased interest in sex during or after menopause is not a medical issue. If it doesn't bother you, there's no need to worry about it. This quiet time can give you an opportunity to experience hobbies with or without your partner. Take long walks on the beach, and talk and reconnect on a more personal and spiritual level.
But, if your decreased interest in sex after menopause concerns you, there are things you can do to get your groove back. Just because nature has thrown you a roadblock, it doesn't mean you can't find a way around it.
Here are a few options:
Don't assume that it's all part of menopause. Your doctor can help rule out other conditions that also may be contributing to lack of sex drive. Get yourself tested for low thyroid function or anemia. Both of these can affect your sex drive.
Consider this: Could you be suffering from depression? Depression directly affects your sex drive, especially if you're taking an SSRI antidepressant. There are medications for depression you can take that will not affect your sex drive. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor.
Hormone therapy. Estrogen can be placed directly into the vagina. This soothes the tissue, eliminating the dry irritation, thereby making sex more comfortable.
Try vitamin E. Using vitamin E in the irritated area can rehydrate the tissue and possibly increase that sensation you've been missing.
Use a lubricant during intercourse. To combat discomfort caused by vaginal dryness, try one of the many lubricants on the market today, such as K-Y Jelly, Astroglide or Liquid Silk.