Right from puberty to the reproductive phase, a woman’s journey has many stages in life. Then there is menopause, which means saying goodbye to sanitary pad or tampon days. While you might be happy to be done with period cramps and bleeding every month, menopause brings with it a set of new problems. Menopausal women can face decreases in libido, orgasm and frequency of sex, as per National Library Of Medicine. This happens most commonly due to physiologic changes, thanks to menopause. Read on to find out how menopause affects a woman’s sex life.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Nirmala M, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, and Fertility Specialist Motherhood Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru, to explore the connection between menopause and sex life.
What is menopause?
Menopause is not something that you avoid as it is a biological process that is prevalent among women where she experiences physical and emotional symptoms. There will be hot flashes which cause sleep disturbances, low energy levels, and emotional health issues, says Dr Nirmala. While most women go through this stage between the ages of 45 and 55, individually, this might alter. Before menopause drops in women’s lives, they will experience perimenopause. It starts a few years before menopause. During this time, women get irregular periods, experience mood swings, insomnia, dry vagina and hot flashes.
Sexual issues women face after menopause
A woman’s sex life is one of the things that gets affected due to menopause. Here are some of the things they may face:
1. Vaginal dryness
You can blame menopause for a drop in estrogen levels. It further causes the tissues in the vagina to become dry, explains Dr Nirmala. Naturally, the vagina becomes less elastic and dry. Vaginal dryness can make sex extremely uncomfortable.
2. Reduced arousal
There are hormonal changes associated with menopause and then there is physical discomfort. Owing to these factors, sex becomes less enjoyable and there is a lack of arousal due to emotional and physical imbalance.
3. Change in sexual function
Menopause might lead to a change in sexual function, so there maybe delayed orgasms, less intense orgasms, or different levels of sexual satisfaction, shares the expert.
4. Urinary issues
The pelvic muscles become weaker, or the urinary tract alters after menopause. This may cause painful urination and also extreme discomfort during sex.
5. Touch issues
Women in the menopause phase may not want to be physically touched much. They may not feel like getting intimate as their skin feels more sensitive. Plus, who wants the extra body heat amid hot flashes?
It’s true that sexual problems can arise from menopause, but that doesn’t mean you do nothing about it. You can have an active lifestyle with a good diet and regular exercise. Mental and physical well-being is proven to have positive effects during the menopause period, says Dr Nirmala.
Hormone therapy can be a highly effective way to manage menopause. It can help in reducing problems such as vaginal dryness, decreased libido and reduced sexual desire.
Also, underlying conditions can lead to a lot of complications during menopause. High blood pressure and diabetes can increase the chances of sexual problems. So, treating them earlier can help you.
Some couples like to experiment in bed, and age shouldn’t come in the way. You can try sexual activities that have got nothing to do with vaginal penetration. There is oral sex and mutual masturbation that you can do with your partner.