Not in the mood? When estrogen and testosterone levels decrease, it can become more difficult to get aroused. Vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy and painful sex are factors here too. Add in insomnia, hot flashes, fatigue, and weight gain, and you have a really romantic evening ahead of you. Ha!
Is this normal?
Women are 2-3 times more likely to be affected by declining sex drive as they age, so know you are not alone. Some women also report a decline in sensation and decreased ability to climax.
What can you do?
Making sex less painful is the first stop, and there are many treatments, including topical estrogen, to improve lubrication and make sex feel better. There are plenty of solutions to help with sexual function.
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Low libido during menopause - what’s happening?
It’s actually pretty simple. As you go through menopause, your estrogen and testosterone levels decrease, which makes it more difficult to get aroused. When you factor in vaginal dryness, painful sex, hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, and depression (okay, we’ll stop, this is depressing us now), it’s pretty easy to understand why you might not want to have sex tonight, tomorrow, or, seemingly, ever again.
Not exactly what I wanted to hear. Is this normal?
This can be one of the more frustrating and upsetting parts of menopause, but it’s totally normal, and you’re not alone. Women are two to three times more likely than men to be affected by a decline in sex drive as they age, and about 80% of women said they experienced a decline in sexual desire during menopause, according to a study published in 2013 in Britain's The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist. Aside from the decline in libido, women also report decreased sensation and ability to climax.
According to that same study, however, 84% of menopausal women said maintaining an active sex life was still important to them. And if there are things you want to do to improve your sex life, there are absolutely things you can do about it.
Great! What can I do about low libido?
If painful sex or vaginal dryness are some of the things that are holding you back, you can try a lubricant. Locally applied estrogen is another option. It’s available in cream, tablet, or ring form, and it can help your body create its own natural lubrication and strengthen your vaginal walls.
If you think your issues may extend beyond just pain and dryness down there, you should talk to a doctor. Sexual health is a part of general health. Eat right, exercise, and be sure to get plenty of sleep. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or stress, addressing those also may help. Stack the deck in your favor.
One piece of advice from Dr. Sharon Malone: Don’t wait to feel in the mood. Create the mood. Talk to your partner, and make sex a priority. Schedule it if you have to. With everything else you’re dealing with, it’s easy to put your low libido aside as small potatoes. It’s definitely not, and if you want to improve your sex life, you should prioritize it as much as anything else.