Women can still enjoy sex in menopause.
Apart from the menstrual flow that stops when a woman reaches menopause, one other thing that goes out of the window for most women during this period is their libido.
According to physicians, one of the most common complaints they get from their post-menopausal patients is a decreased desire to have sex.
They say that between one-half and three-quarters of women age 45 to 58 reports a significant drop in sex drive once they stop menstruating.
Consultant gynaecologist, Dr. James Onore, says that a major reason why women often lose interest in sex after menopause, which is the permanent end of menstruation, is reduced hormonal secretion.
Onore explains that once a woman stops menstruating, the rate at which her body produces the female hormone, estrogen, decreases at a significant rate, making sex less enjoyable for her.
“There are two main causes for libido flameout. One has to do with estrogen, and the other, testosterone. Loss of estrogen can affect your mood, but this in itself will not necessarily depress your libido, though the physiological side effects can make vaginal sex so painful as to render it virtually impossible or at least undesirable.
“When estrogen loses its decades-long influence after menopause, the vagina narrows, and the skin in the genital area gets thinner and less moist and loses its elasticity, leading to the number one complaint of women in this age range: which is sex hurts.”
Onore adds that along with the loss of estrogen, women stop secreting testosterone from their ovaries, which diminishes their ability to become aroused and sometimes affecting their ability to reach orgasm.
While few women will barely notice these changes, for others, the symptoms could alter their life. While it’s no picnic for anyone, libido loss can be particularly distressing for married women in long-term relationships who have enjoyed a good sex life and have now lost interest, much to their – and their partner’s – chagrin and surprise.
Consultant Gyneacologist, Dr. Olaremi Adeniji, says no woman should succumb to these signs, as loss of libido in women could encourage their spouses to cheat, which may lead to the end of the marriage in many cases.
Adeniji notes that rather than accept fate, post-menopausal women must look for other ways to tackle the challenges headlong.
He warns that should they fail to do so, they may suffer chronic depression and mood swings, not to mention a broken marriage.
“Vaginal sex is going to be more tedious after menopause for any woman, because the woman is not well lubricated and cannot be easily penetrated.
“However, she could remedy the situation by talking it out with her spouse before he starts thinking she desires him less or he feels she’s is just being stiff.
“The man may see it as a reason to have extra-marital affairs, which will expose both of them to sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and also cause tension or a break in the relationship.”
If you are above 47 and you have been asking yourself, ‘what happened to my sex drive?’ the answer is right in front of you, but don’t give up. Like the doctors have said, there are many ways you can enjoy sex after menopause, based on the following therapies…
Local vaginal estrogens are safe and easy to use and have been on the market for more than 30 years. After just a few weeks of using it, experts say, the woman will become more comfortable and feel more receptive to sex.
Local estrogen comes in three different forms: a cream that needs to be applied every few days; tiny pills that are inserted vaginally every few days; and a ring that releases a very low level of estrogen and can be left inside the vagina for three months at a time. The ring’s main drawback is that it may be difficult for the patient to insert or remove it. While some have no problem doing it at home, others prefer to have the physician do it.
Physician-author, Christiane Northrup, says one of the smartest things a woman can do as she transits to menopause and afterward is to get regular physical activity. Instead of looking back mournfully, she should use this state to redefine herself with positive thoughts and love, exploring what brings her pleasure, and revive (not retire) her sex life.
That includes aerobic exercise for her heart and weight-bearing exercise for her bones – both of which may help ward off weight gain and provide mood boost.
Other expert treatments on offer to help women cope better with menopausal symptoms include low-dose birth control pills, anti-depressants, blood pressure drugs, or other medications to help with hot flashes.
Your doctor may also have lifestyle tips about adjusting your diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
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