Here’s how to take physical, mental and emotional steps to maintain a healthy libido during this epic change.
While every woman is different, most women experience some unpleasant effects during menopause. According to a large national study, sexual activity falls precipitously with age, with fewer than half the women age 57 to 73 reporting that they had sex less than twice a month, on average. Often, the mind is willing but the body just doesn’t respond. This can be intensely frustrating, and hard on relationships.
The loss of your hormones, including estrogen and testosterone following menopause, can lead to changes in a woman’s body and sexual drive. More often than not, this leaves her less interested in sexual physical connections, often to her chagrin (and that of her partner). Because, let’s face it, sexual attraction and activity is often very important to a couple’s overall intimacy...if you’re experiencing unpleasant effects during your private time with your partner, it can cause an overall loss of intimacy over time. That’s why we want you to be as educated as possible. It’s never too late to take control of your libido!
Who would have thought that hormones are needed to elevate our vaginal hydration levels?!? Lower levels of estrogen can cause a drop in blood supply to the vagina, which can affect lubrication. Without it, sex can be painful and dry. Also, be on the lookout for vaginal atrophy, which happens when estrogen plummets and the vaginal lining thins. The vaginal walls become less elastic and lubrication diminishes. This can result in (decidedly un-sexy) burning or itching. No one wins.
What You Can Do For Your Vajayjay
Vaginal dryness can be treated with water-soluble lubricants such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly or another option is Kindra’s The Daily Vaginal Lotion. Steer clear of non-water-soluble lubricants such as Vaseline, because they can weaken latex (the material used to make condoms). Even if you are no longer fertile, condoms stop the spread of STDs, so they must stay in rotation unless you are in a long-term, monogamous relationship.
Vaginal moisturizers like glycerin-min oil-polycarbophil (Replens) and Luvena can be used on a more regular basis to maintain moisture in the vagina 24/7. You can also speak with your doctor about estrogen therapy. However, this is not suggested for some women as it can thicken the lining of the uterus and raise the risk of strokes and blood clots. It is also not recommended for women who have had breast cancer as adding estrogen to the body can cause a recurrence. Always consult your doctor regarding any of these solutions above.
Topical estrogen may be an attractive option; it is delivered as a cream, suppository, or ring that releases the hormone over three months, which can help plump up vaginal tissues and aid with lubrication. The FDA approved an insert called Intarosa in 2016 for breast cancer survivors who don’t want to risk absorbing estrogen. However, check with your doctor before starting any new regimen, especially if you have had cancer or another underlying condition. Also: Try Mia Vita Personal Lubricant and Moisturizer, and Zestra, two more FDA-approved aids in bringing back the sexy.
And don’t overlook laser therapy. A small trial published online in July 2021 by the journal Menopause found that fractional CO2 laser therapy and topical estrogen were both effective treatments for postmenopausal symptoms related to vulvovaginal atrophy. Another option is the MonaLisa Touch, which requires three treatments about a month apart. Studies show that women reported a boost in their menopausal symptoms, including dryness, itching, burning, and painful sex after just one treatment. More study is necessary for this treatment. Watch this space!
What about bioidentical hormones, as made famous by Suzanne Somers (and she certainly seems to be aging like a pro)? She claims that these “natural hormones” are more effective than hormones used in traditional hormone therapy for menopause symptoms without the scary side effects. Unfortunately, the medical community finds this to be untrue, citing that there is no scientific support for an advantage over commercially prepared hormones, according to the Mayo Clinic.
During this time, we may fear losing our connection to our partners. Never fear; there are steps you can take (even if they initially take you out of your comfort zone) that will amp up the passion between even the longest-term couples.
Don’t despair if you start to feel unpleasant sexual side effects leading up to the years before, during and after menopause. There are safe, effective treatments you can try both in the doctor’s office and at home alone or with your partner. Sex isn’t over...it just might look different. But never fear, with a little experimentation and moxie, your days of getting it on are far from over. We hope you learned some new ideas on how to increase your sex drive during and after menopause.
The "i" in Caire is for the individual in you. At Caire, we believe in you feeling and looking confident as you age, and therefore in control of your sex life. Try using the Caire Theorem Serum Boost twice daily to look your best. Check out our other well researched articles on aging well.
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