Can The Body Signal Potential Pregnancy To Postpone Menopause
Investigators looked at 2,936 women in the United States who were part of the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation , a multisite longitudinal, epidemiologic study thats designed to examine womens health during their middle years. At the start of the study, women were all between 42 and 52 years old and hadnt reached menopause yet.
Loss Of Libido Or Decreased Arousal
Changing hormone levels can affect your sexual interest, but other factors can play a part in libido, too.
- Taking any regular medications? Its worth checking whether any of them can affect libido and asking a healthcare professional about trying a different medication.
- Lingering changes in your mood? Stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect desire, so it never hurts to talk with a therapist or other mental health professional if youre experiencing mood changes.
- Having a hard time getting in the mood? Try reading or watching erotica alone or with your partner or sharing sexual fantasies with each other.
Physical Changes With Menopause
Around menopause, you may notice physical changes that affect your sexuality in positive and negative ways. These may include:
- vaginal changes as oestrogen levels fall, the walls of the vagina become thinner and drier. Loss of lubrication can make having sex uncomfortable
- slowed sexual response it may take longer for you to get aroused and reach orgasm, and orgasm may be less intense
- infections your vagina and bladder may become more susceptible to bacterial infections
- menopause symptoms can include hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia and unusual skin sensations like prickling, itching or ants under the skin
- touch avoidance you may find you dont want to be touched. You may not feel like getting close and intimate because your skin feels more sensitive and you dont like the feeling of your combined body heat
- physical discomfort of menopause symptoms may reduce your interest in sex or make you tired
- absent periods if you experienced heavy or painful periods you may feel relieved and positive about no longer having periods. This can lead to a renewed interest in sex
- no fear of pregnancy if you were trying to avoid pregnancy during your reproductive years, you may find menopause a time of renewed sexual interest. Without the risk of pregnancy, sex may become more relaxed and fun and you may feel like it more often.
Recommended Reading: Light Headedness And Menopause
Tips For Talking To Your Doctor About Vaginal Dryness
Discussing vaginal dryness with a healthcare professional can be daunting however it is often well worth it as they will be able to help. Here are a few tips to make the discussion as easy as possible:
- Make a list of what you want to discuss
- Discuss the most important or most difficult questions first
- Write down what the doctor tells you
- If there is anything that you dont understand, ask for clarification
- If you feel embarrassed take along some information with you. It can be difficult to discuss embarrassing problems face to face, but if you find information on the internet about your symptoms you can use this to help explain and avoid having to make eye contact with your HCP whilst discussing the problem
- If you still feel unable to discuss the subject, write it all down and hand it to the HCP
- Dont wait to be asked, give the HCP any information that you may feel is relevant including a history of the condition, symptoms, the impact they are having on you, any lifestyle factors that may have contributed and any medication you are taking
- Many women find that their smears become more difficult, if this is the case, speak to the nurse about your symptoms and ask for some further information and advice about vaginal dryness.
How Perimenopause Affected My Sex Drive
The one thing I havenât found in many resources or articles is the nuclear-powered juggernaut that my libido seems to have turned into. The vast majority of online sources provide advice for the exact opposite: loss of libido during this stage in life. Some do acknowledge a huge upswing in desire can occur. Common advice seems to be that this could be due to a drop in estrogen, which causes an increase in the relative levels of testosterone in the system. This is all exacerbated in my case by the fact that not only are my cycles longer, Iâm way hornier for much more of each cycle than ever before.
Iâm finding my way through all of this now, several years after these changes first began. The Clue app has helped me come to more clarity about how, when, and why these physical symptoms emerge. Even when my cycles vary wildly, the appâs mechanisms can help me predict when Iâll become ragingly horny again, or when I might expect my usual monthly migraine.
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When The Sex Surge Fades
So what about those women who have experienced a drop in libido around perimenopause and menopause?
Firstly, dont be embarrassed about talking to your doctor, says Dr Goodwin. They see these kinds of problems frequently, understand their impact and can advise on the many forms of available treatment from HRT to vaginal estrogen and other lubricants which is available in many forms.
For many women, hormone replacement therapy can help. Declining levels of estrogen and testosterone can affect a womans sexual desire. Testosterone deficiency affects a lot of women after the menopause, confirms Dr Goodwin. Testosterone Replacement Therapy can be very helpful for women who have got lack of libido as part of their menopausal symptoms.
The last word goes to Dr Goodwin, who has some empowering advice for all women. I think when we talk about libido, it should be for everybody, its not just for people who have a partner, she says. So if you dont have a partner, dont just park your libido, celebrate it. Go and buy yourself a vibrator ladies, everybody should have one. We couldnt agree more youll find plenty to tempt you here.
Read more from Joanna at Joannameriwether.com
What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
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How Does Menopause Affect Your Sex Life
Theres a lot of stigma around womens sexual desire and satisfaction, particularly for older women who are going through the effects of menopause. And as a result, many women are hesitant to discuss these topics.
Here at Solace Womens Care, we believe in pushing past that stigma so that we can address and ultimately treat what is honestly a common problem thats experienced by so many women.
Why can sexual desire decrease during menopause?
The first step in treating a side effect is understanding the root cause. Your sexual desire can decrease during menopause because of the physical effects of falling estrogen levels, including hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.
And while its not a direct correlation, , particularly when it comes to drive and sensation.
What can I do to keep my sexual drive during menopause?
Losing your sexual drive as you go through menopause can be discouraging, but there are many things that you can do to boost desire and your overall well-being:
Being physically active can improve your energy levels, overall mood and body image, which is incredibly beneficial in maintaining your desire.
Avoid or quit smoking
Smoking cigarettes can reduce blood flow to the vagina and decrease the effects of estrogen, which ultimately makes it difficult to become aroused.
Engage in sexual activities more often
Having regular sexual relations can increase blood flow to the vagina and help keep the tissues healthy.
Allow time for arousal
Myth: Menopause Ends Your Desire For Sex
The facts: Many women do report decreased sexual desire with menopause and the perimenopausal period leading up to it. Some women, however, report an increased libido while others report no change in their desire for sex.
Because libido is a complicated issue thats both physical and psychological, these differences are likely due to several factors.
You may, for instance, find sex is the last thing on your mind when youre experiencing hot flashes that leave you drenched, mood swings that remind you of puberty, and unexplained weight gain that makes your pajamas tighter than they ought to be.
But many women breeze through perimenopause to menopause with few problems and simply dont experience the hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms that make sexual desire a distant memory for some.
The good news is, you dont have to accept loss of libido as a normal part of menopause. If your desire for sex is low , and youd like a change, we can help with treatment that may include home remedies, over-the-counter aids, and prescription medicine, when necessary.
We can also help you work through the emotional aspects of menopause and the aging process itself. Depending on your circumstance, we may refer you for counseling and/or prescribe antidepressants, which are also known to decrease the hot flashes associated with menopause.
Read Also: Menopause Dizzy Spells
Would Masturbation Help
As previously mentioned, vibrators are great for discovering your body through menopause along with helping your vaginal walls stay as healthy as they possibly can be.
Vibrators can also be used in unison with sex, if your partner is comfortable with the idea.
You may use other sexual tools and toys, or even your own body to masturbate on a semi-regular basis. Its all about preference and what works best for you to keep up with a great sex life.
Late Menopause And You
If you are past the age of 51 and still experience menstrual cycles you may be experiencing late menopause. If you are sexually active and do not wish to get pregnant it is important to use protection, even if your menstrual cycles are sporadic or irregular, since you may still be able to get pregnant.
Some women who have not yet experienced menopause have fears and concerns about what their experience of menopause will be like. This is normal, but it is also important to remember that menopause is not a disease and there are healthy, affordable, and safe ways to treat the menopausal symptoms a woman may experience. Click on the following link to learn about the ways you can treat your menopause symptoms.
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What Effects Will Menopause Have On My Sex Life
Menopause may cause changes in your sex life, or you may not notice any changes at all. Here are some possible changes:
Lower hormone levels can make your vaginal tissue drier and thinner. This condition, called vaginal atrophy, can make sex uncomfortable or painful.
Lower hormones may lower your sex drive. It may take you longer to get aroused.
Night sweats can disturb your sleep and make you tired.
Emotional changes can make you feel stressed or irritable.
Being less interested in sex as you get older is not a medical condition that requires treatment. But if changes in your sexual health bother you, talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to help, such as .
Attitudes About Sex And The Menopause
Regardless of age and menopausal status, sexual interest continues for many women. Seventy six percent of middle-aged women in the Study of Womenâs Health Across the Nation reported sex was moderately or extremely important to them . Even though sex is important to reproductively senescing women, sexual activity and function decline with age. In the Womenâs Healthy Ageing Project cohort, an extension of the Melbourne Womenâs Midlife Health Project, a significant decline from 74 to 56% in sexual activity was reported between early postmenopausal women and late postmenopausal women . Short Personal Experience Questionnaire scores also indicated that 42% of early perimenopausal women had sexual dysfunction in the Melbourne Womenâs Midlife Health Project at baseline. After eight years of follow-up, the percent of women with sexual dysfunction, as determined by SPEQ scores, more than doubled to 88%. The etiology of this decline in sexual function and activity may vary and is often multifactorial. Thus, a careful evaluation is required to determine the cause and recommend the best intervention.
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‘having Sex’ Included Sexual Touching Oral Sex And Masturbation In Addition To Intercourse
Women were asked how often they engaged in sexual activity of any kind, not just intercourse. Any sexual touching or caressing, oral sex, and masturbation counted as sex.
Sexual activity other than intercourse was included because of the authors hypothesis that the cues from these behaviors could all potentially trigger the same signal in the body that could indicate a possible pregnancy to the body, according to the authors.
The maximum amount of sexual activity from any of those behaviors was used as the sexual frequency number, or sex index. If a woman reported having intercourse once a month but oral sex every week, then weekly was recorded as her sex index. Due to the small number of responses in some categories, all responses were placed into one of three categories:
- Less Than Monthly Women who responded as having sex less than once a month, and also women who hadnt had sex in the last six months or no sex at all
- Monthly Engaged in a sexual act once or twice a month
- Weekly If a woman reported any type of sexual activity about once a week, more than once a week, or daily
Climax, or female orgasm was not included as part of the questions or considered in the signaling hypothesis, Arnot responded via email. We arent 100 percent sure on the exact mechanism, but sexual activity can cause fluctuations in estrogen, which would send signals it might just be that vaginal stimulation signals possible pregnancy, she wrote.
What Can I Do To Treat Vaginal Dryness During Menopause
During and after menopause, vaginal dryness can be treated with water-soluble lubricants such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.
Do not use non-water-soluble lubricants such as Vaseline, because they can weaken latex, the material used to make condoms. You or your partner should keep using condoms until your doctor confirms you’re no longer ovulating — and to prevent getting an STD. Non-water-soluble lubricants can also provide a medium for bacterial growth, particularly in a person whose immune system has been weakened by chemotherapy.
Vaginal moisturizers like glycerin-min oil-polycarbophil and Luvena can also be used on a more regular basis to maintain moisture in the vagina. You can also talk to your doctor about vaginal estrogen therapy.
An oral drug taken once a day, ospemifeme , makes vaginal tissue thicker and less fragile, resulting in less pain for women during sex. The FDA warns that Osphena can thicken the endometrium and raise the risk of stroke and blood clots.
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Will Not Having Sex Trigger Early Menopause
New research suggests that women who are more sexually active may continue to ovulate longer than women who have sex less frequently.
Use it or lose it. Weve all heard that expression, often used in reference to the strength of our muscles or even parts of our brain. But is the saying also accurate for women when it comes to sex and fertility?
A study published on January 15, 2020, in the journal Royal Society Open Science found that women who had sex at least once a week were 28 percent less likely to go through menopause compared with women who engaged in sexual activity less than once a month. Women who had monthly sex were 19 percent less likely to experience menopause than women who had sex less than that.
The authors of the paper suggest sexual activity, or the lack of it, could be sending messages to the body about whether or not continuing to ovulate is a good use of the bodys resources. If a woman isnt sexually active, the body may choose not to invest in ovulation because there would be no point, according to Megan Arnot, a PhD candidate at University College London, and coauthor of the study.
Conversely, if the woman is still engaging in sex regularly, then it may be adaptive for her to continue ovulating for slightly longer, the authors wrote.
Related: How to Have More Satisfying Sex
Why Do Women Stop Enjoying Sex After Menopause
When women stop enjoying sex after menopause, it can be for a number of reasons. Some of those are physical. For example, if you have vaginal dryness, it can make sex uncomfortable or even painful.
Other reasons can be psychological. After menopause, some people find it harder to tolerate behaviors in others that previously didn’t bother them.
If you’ve stopped enjoying sex after menopause, think about why. Depending on the reason sex has become less fun, the solution could change a lot. You might need more lubrication. You might also need to sit down and have a talk with your partner.