“Your generation did not invent sex!” is a common phrase used by parents to remind their teenagers in cases of unusual sexual behavior. Similarly, every midlife woman should know that “your generation did not invent menopause and sex!”. There have been women before you and you, definitely, will neither be the first nor the last one to experience the sexual side effects of menopause.
Of course, this is not meant to diminish the intensity and criticalness of the menopause effects on sexual desire. Research has found out that approximately a third of women in the US are concerned about this matter. They do not find sex pleasurable anymore and do not reach orgasm. Luckily, the truth is that many of them undergo the challenges and take the time to handle them properly. Such women have an inspiring story, despite the menopause age and its consequences. However, there are others who bear the brunt of these consequences, realize they cannot handle them as a couple and end in divorces.
Being equipped with the necessary facts and information, you will be better placed to handle the sexual side effects in a victorious way. Together with your spouse, you can be the victor, not the victim in this critical period. You can still enjoy your menopausal years even with the sexual obstacles it provides.
Hormonal Changes During Menopause and Their Sexual Side Effects
During the period of menopause, a lot of changes take place in a woman’s body. Its production of reproductive hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone declines and fluctuates. This is the major source of sexual complications for women.
Estrogen is the primary female reproductive hormone, playing a critical role in the general well-being of the woman. Specifically, it ensures the moisture of the vagina, its elasticity, and proper blood supply. During menopause, the amount of estrogen produced by the body fluctuates with a declining trend. The absence of estrogen leads to low blood supply to the vagina, less elasticity of the vaginal walls and lining, and a dry vagina. Most women at this stage would prefer not to have regular sex. Unfortunately, this abstinence makes the vagina shorter and narrower. When such a woman eventually tries to have an intercourse, she experiences pain. Even some bleeding may appear when there is an attempt for penetration. This would affect her desire for sex because she associates it with pain. It is recommended that women continue to have regular sex even during the menopausal years. Sex keeps the vagina moist, elastic and maintains it thick and long. This way the pleasure during sexual intercourse will last longer.
Low estrogen also leads to menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, stress, anxiety, night sweats, and urinary incontinence. This often drains the energy of women leaving them with very little sexual desire.
How to treat sexual side effects during menopause?
Many women are shy to discuss their sexual problems but this is really important. A woman has to take the time to discuss these effects with her partner and her doctor. If you share with your sexual partner what you are going through, he will better understand your condition and will support you. Sharing builds trust between the two of you. You can together ask your doctor about a professional advice on how to combat the sexual effects of menopause in a healthy manner.
Lifestyle changes are usually easy to afford and implement. Your daily routine has to include a balanced diet of healthy foods. Also, you should eat foods that can boost estrogen activity in the body, such as soy. It is important to drink much water. Do regular exercises that would promote the flow of blood. Kegel exercises are very useful in that direction. Having regular sex is necessary, as mentioned above. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeinated drinks.
Alternative medicine and supplements
Alternative medicine and supplements are a safe way of treating menopausal symptoms. Consult your holistic therapist about the treatment that would best fit your condition.
Use of lubricants and moisturizers
Water-based lubricants and moisturizers can help a lot when a woman desires an intercourse, but her vagina is dry. Ensure that your choice of a sexual aid is safe enough for your health.
Hormone treatment is aimed at restoring estrogen levels in the body. However, before administering such a treatment, your doctor must carefully weigh the possible risks and the intended benefits.