Not all women going through menopause find that it decreases their sex drive. In fact, some women become more sexually active since they no longer have the concern that they will become pregnant. Often, however, the physical side effects of menopause can inhibit sexual enjoyment, but women can usually counter these effects with a little planning. The primary physical complaint of menopausal women remains vaginal dryness. Hot flashes and night sweats may also inhibit sex drive by causing irritability and discomfort. Notably, a number of physical changes related to aging may also have an impact, including decreased blood flow to the pelvis, which causes the vagina to become less elastic. The vaginal walls may also become thinner, resulting in pain during intercourse. Additionally, hormonal changes affect sexuality since the loss of androgens, such as testosterone, decreases a woman’s libido.
Women often consider their decreased enjoyment of sex a natural part of aging, but can easily seek gynecological treatment if they wish to maintain their sex lives. Symptom-dependent treatment options include hormone replacement therapy, which assuages hot flashes and night sweats and could possibly address vaginal dryness. A woman can also reclaim her sex life via some over-the-counter and prescription medications. If vaginal dryness proves the most pressing issue, women can use water-based gel lubricants available at a variety of stores. Additionally, exercise and diet can have a great impact on overall health, wellbeing, and certain symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. Also, regular sexual activity actually promotes and prolongs vaginal health.
Women should consult a doctor as soon as they notice a problem. Failure to address these issues may increase stress levels and affect physical, mental, and emotional health. Similarly, before taking any over-the-counter medications, women should discuss their possible side effects and other available options with a qualified physician.
About the Author
Dr. Ben Ramaley offers comprehensive gynecological care through Southport Women’s Group in Connecticut, specializing in menopausal and adolescent gynecology, aiding women through the beginning and end of their menstrual cycles. To provide the highest level of care, Dr. Ben Ramaley remains involved with several professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Connecticut State Medical Society.