Menopausal and missing your sex drive? It's not just you, we promise.
Some women experience a decrease in sexual desire during menopause. This is a fairly common occurrence among both those who have had a healthy intimate life and those who have not. It can be frustrating for both partners in a relationship, especially when it brings about changes in the dynamics of intimacy levels. By understanding the causes of problematic symptoms that lead to a lack of sexual desire and the remedies that are available, women who struggle with this change can take steps to return to a normal and healthy sex life.
Symptoms of menopause that lower sexual desire
One of the most common symptoms that can lead to a loss of sexual desire is vaginal atrophy. This condition is characterized by a lack of natural lubrication and vaginal dryness which can result in painful intercourse. Intense or frequent hot flashes and/or night sweats can bring physical discomfort that lowers the libido. Mood swings and depression are emotional conditions that can also wreak havoc on a woman's sex drive. Combined with irritability and a lack of sleep from occasional insomnia, the formula for disaster is complete.
Causes of menopausal sexual dysfunction
The onset of menopausal hormonal fluctuations can disrupt the normal processes of all of the body's systems. Estrogen levels are in a rapid decline. Estrogen is the hormone that helps to facilitate the secretion of natural fluids and lubricants in the vaginal area. In addition, it helps to keep the tissues smooth and elastic. When these hormonal levels drop, the benefits decline as well. The result is then a thinning of the vaginal walls, making them more fragile, and a lack of the usual lubricating fluids during sex. This can create pain when engaging in sexual intercourse.
Decreased estrogen also causes changes in the endocrine system which can lead to emotional upsets including irritability, mood swings and depression. These conditions are famous for acting as libido suppressants. Hot flashes and night sweats can become uncomfortable and disturb normal sleep patterns, which in turn may lead to fatigue or a feeling of exhaustion.
Treatments for menopausal sexual problems
Standard medical treatment for these symptoms is the prescription of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). By using synthetically manufactured replacements for estrogen, the hormonal balance of the body is brought closer to its premenopausal state. This is known to be one of the most effective treatments for menopause available; however, the risks associated with HRT are side effects and potential health hazards in the long term.
Over-the-counter remedies such as vaginal gels and lubricants bring relief for many women experiencing dryness. Natural remedies for restoring balance to the hormone levels in the body are also popular and have shown a level of effectiveness in relieving symptoms. Supplements and foods containing high levels of compounds known as phytoestrogens and isoflavones are used to help treat the symptoms of menopause. Soy beans and soy products are used to create extracts that are included in supplement capsule form along with other helpful plants. Black cohosh, wild yam, flaxseed, walnuts, Brazil nuts and certain cereals also contain helpful compounds. By eating foods or drinking teas containing these estrogen-like compounds, a milder form of hormone replacement can be achieved. These remedies are believed to deliver little or no side effects, nor any risk increases for health issues down the roads.
The women who encounter menopausal symptoms that lower their sexual desires do not have to suffer in silence. By understanding the causes of this condition, the available remedies, their effectiveness and associated risks, there are steps that can be taken to make changes that can restore their sex drive to a more normal state. The use of over-the-counter vaginal lubricants can be used to help reduce dryness and pain during sex. If this solutions does not bring enough relief, there are other remedies available.
Replacing low levels of estrogen can be accomplished through HRT. For women who prefer safer and more natural approach, supplements containing high levels of phytoestrogens and isoflavones can be used to balance hormones. Foods containing these compounds can also be consumed to bring relief. If a woman has enjoyed a healthy and active sex life prior to the onset of menopause, there is no good reason not to continue with the current help that is available.