Do I Still Have To Worry About Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Yes. Menopause and postmenopause don’t protect you against STDs. You can get an STD at any point in your life during which you’re sexually active. This risk doesn’t go down with age or with changes in your reproductive system.
Why Is Sex Painful After Menopause
Dr. Vahora notes that many of her patients experience pain or discomfort during sex, which in turn leads to less interest in sex. The pain tends to stem from declining estrogen levels, which can cause vaginal tissue to become drier, thinner, and less elastic.
The vagina and vulva are mucus membranes, she explains. When it gets dry and the skin becomes irritated from friction, its like a rug burn.
Why Is Sex Painful For Some Women After Menopause
When sex is painful after menopause, it’s usually because of dryness or vulvovaginal atrophy. Mild dryness that is only bothersome during intercourse can be treated with increased use of vaginal lubricants. More significant pain or dryness may require treatment with local estrogens or other medications.
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Rediscover What Libido Means To You
In my office, women talk of changes in their sexual lives. Our conversation often surrounds what to do and what is available for treatment. Often it requires opening up the can of worms to discuss what libido is and what drives it.
Libido is a complex aspect of sexuality. Many people are uncomfortable discussing it. And many times, it isnt until menopause happens that we try to find the time to peel back the layers and figure out what libido really means for us individually.
Finding new ways to transform arousal and moments of excitement such as pelvic physical therapy or laser vaginal rejuvenation also restore intimacy in relationships. The incorporation of lifestyle changes, technology, and medications can together help maintain the results of arousal with vaginal lubrication and vaginal tissue changes.
Sex therapists are also extremely effective in helping foster a new sense of intimacy with partners. Their tips may include:
Communicate With Your Partner
Focus on communication and intimacy. Keep in mind that talking about sex really should be the same as talking about any challenging issue in a relationship. Dr. Propst suggests describing how you feel about certain situations rather than making accusations against your partner if you are having a debate. Find time and a neutral place and talk about a goal of making sex enjoyable for both of you.
Also be honest with yourself, she says. Ask yourself if there are things going on in your life or in your relationship that keep you from wanting to have sex with your partner. A lack of desire is often related to relationship issues. Dr. Propst adds that relationship roadblocks tend to affect women more than men when it comes to sex. If you cannot find solutions on your own, a therapist may be able to help you and your partner.
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How Can A Woman Heighten And Improve Her Sexual Function And Desire During And After Menopause
As discussed above, the use of systemic hormone therapy or vaginal estrogen therapy can diminish vaginal dryness and decrease any discomfort associated with sexual intercourse. Water-soluble lubricants can also help overcome vaginal discomfort. Some women find that relaxation techniques, sensual massage, masturbation, or changing positions during coitus can heighten their sexual experiences. For women or couples who are struggling to understand and accept the changes in sexual function that may accompany menopause, counseling can be an option. Talk with your partner about the changes that are happening to your body. Some couples try counseling on an individual basis or as a couple.
How Can I Protect Myself From Stds
Take some basic steps to help protect yourself from STDs:
- Not having sex is the only sure way to prevent STDs.
- Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to catch an STD.
- Practice monogamy. This means having sex with only one person. That person must also have sex with only you to lower your risk.
- Choose your sex partners with care. Don’t have sex with someone who you suspect might have an STD.
- Get checked for STDs. Don’t risk giving the infection to someone else.
- Ask a potential sex partner to be checked for STDs. Symptoms of STDs may not be visible or even cause any symptoms for your partner.
- If you have more than one sex partner, always use a condom.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs before you have sex. You may be less likely to practice safe sex if you’re drunk or high.
- Know the symptoms of STDs.
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How To Increase Sex Drive In Women
Research shows that one in ten women are affected by HSDD, but most of them dont even know they have it. Its the most common sexual dysfunction in women. If you have been diagnosed with HSDD, there might not be much your doctor can do for you regarding conventional treatment. Lucky, there are plenty of natural remedies you can use to increase your sex drive, and they come with additional benefits that may enhance other areas of your life, too!
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Biological Causes Of Diminished Sex Drive After Menopause
There are a lot of reasons why sex drive fluctuates during the course of your life. Stress at work, a lack of connection with your partner, boredom, body image concerns, depression or other mental health issues, or, sometimes, just being too busy. After menopause, though, there are often significant physical and hormonal reasons for diminished desire. Even if you want to want to have sex, you might just not be feeling it.
The primary cause of this is lowered estrogen production. As noted by experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine:
This change has a huge impact on your sexual function. It can lower desire and make it harder for you to become aroused. It can also make the vaginal canal less stretchy and you may experience dryness, which can cause intercourse to be painful. More than a third of women in perimenopause, or who are postmenopausal, report having sexual difficulties, from lack of interest in sex to trouble having an orgasm.
In other words, the drop in estrogenas well as progesterone and, potentially, testosteronecan produce multiple effects that intertwine to reduce your interest or even your ability to have sex. If sex is less immediately pleasurable, it can be more mentally challenging to be up for it. If there are underlying hormonal reasons for being less interested, it can make sex even less desirable. These effects can snowball, and sex can stop being an important and rewarding part of your life.
So what can be done?
Menopause Symptoms Can Impact Female Sensitivity And Sex Drive
You know when sex just doesnt feel like it used to. Still, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint just what the problem is.
Lets start by taking a look at some of the most common peri- and postmenopausal symptoms. You might have written some of these off as normal or unavoidablebut in fact, these symptoms may have an impact on your overall sensitivity, libido and sexual function:3
- Vaginal dryness, itching, or discomfort
- Painful sex
- More time needed to get aroused
- Absence of orgasm
- Night sweats and disrupted sleep, which can lead to lower energy levels and sex drive4
Since one symptom can often be tied to another when it comes to decreased sexual function, its important to talk to your doctor about what youre experiencing. They may be able to offer advice or suggest specific treatments to fit your individual needs.
Menopause Hormones Are Changing:
There are 3 main hormones that influence sex drive during menopause.
And, during menopause, estrogen levels can be all over the place. During fluctuations where estrogen surges, women can experience an increase in sex drive.
This is especially true during perimenopause when estrogen levels can fluctuate the most.
Dr. Lara Briden’s book, The Period Repair Manual, is a great resource for this topic.
Medical News Today shares that an increase in progesterone will actually decrease sex drive in women.
And just like with estrogen, progesterone can fluctuate during menopause. It can go up. It can go down. Or, at times, it can stay steady.
As it surges up or dips below normal, women can experience changes in sex drive.
Dr. Lara Briden also supports evidence that progesterone is the mood boosting hormone and may need support during this transition.
Others argue that testosterone definitely DOES increase sex drive in women.
So, who is right? Does it really matter?
In this case, it doesnt really matter. What matters is that testosterone levels are changing. And while its still unclear whether or not testosterone increases or decreases sex drive, its clear that testosterone influences sex drive to some degree.
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How To Have Great Sex During Menopause And Beyond
You can have an incredible, fulfilling sex life at any age. Menopause is a time of transition, so it’s perfectly normal to notice some changes. Treatments are available for these types of sexual issues:
- Lower libido
- Peeing during sex
- Sexual changes due to medication
The Olson Center for Women’s Health is dedicated to meeting all of your women’s health needs. Our specialists are easy to talk to and can help you resolve physical issues that might be getting in the way of intimacy.
Physiologic Changes At Menopause And Their Effect On Sexuality
Hormones affect sexual arousal through sensory perception, central as well as peripheral nerve transmission and discharge, peripheral blood flow, and capacity to develop muscle tension. Impairment of this mechanism can lead to diminished sexual responsiveness, dyspareunia, decreased sexual activity, decline in sexual desire, and sexual aversion.
Decreasing estrogen affects the integrity of female reproductive tract tissues. Decreased vaginal lubrication and atrophic vaginitis result in dyspareunia. Decreased blood flow to the reproductive organs results in diminished vasocongestion. Progressive ischemia, thinning of the barrier layers of skin and mucous membrane tissue, loss of subcutaneous fat, and a shrinking introitus are among many changes which occur in the genital structures as a result of hypoestrogenemia. Extragenital effects include loss of pelvic muscle tone, decreased intraurethral pressure, a smaller bladder, and thinning of the mucous membrane lining of the bladder and urethra. These effects have been found to be somewhat ameliorated by continuing sexual activity despite no estrogen replacement. Women who were sexually active had less atrophy than those who were not. In general, the health of the vaginal tissues decline in the absence of estrogen stimulation, despite sexual activity.
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Biggest Questions About Menopause And Sex Drive
Though menopause does often bring with it a decrease in sex drive, it does not have to mark the end of your sex life. Every womans experience is different, and many report even better sex after menopause. No one can predict what your experience will be, but having answers to your questions can help you be prepared for what lies ahead.
Ner Problems Can Be Fixed
One of the worst nightmares for a woman in menopause is to have the freedom to have sex anywhere but to have a partner who cant perform anywhere, says Dr. Goldstein. Whatever the problempremature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, low hormonestheres a treatment, compliments of modern medicine. Unresolved sexual problems can even have a silver lining. Menopausal woman may have more mature partners, who, due to performance issues, are open to the use of vibrators for a more satisfying sexual experience, Dr. Richards says.
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Why Do Some Women Urinate During Intercourse Im 60 Years Old
Feeling extra pressure on the belly can cause peeing during sex. Changing your position might solve this. You can also try emptying your bladder before and after sex.
Just because something is common doesnt mean its normal, says urogynecologist Kristin Rooney, MD. This is a medical condition.Urinary incontinence is very treatable. Treatments include behavioral changes, physical therapy and medications. Call 800.922.0000 to see a urogynecologist.
Sex After Menopause On Or Off
Menopause can cause a variety of physical and emotional changes in women. Some of the symptoms and side effects include anxiety, bladder control, depression, sleep issues, thinning hair, hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, and weight gain. One additional issue can be decreased sex drive and desire . The Journal of Womens Health reported that the more severe the menopausal symptoms, the lower the libido. While many symptoms ease once the transition to postmenopause occursmeaning a woman hasnt had a period in one yearsome symptoms may remain.
According to the North American Menopause Society, sex drive decreases gradually with age in both men and women, but women are two to three times more likely to be affected by a decline in sex drive as they age.
The decline varies from individual to individual and in varying degrees. This reduction in libido may result from a variety of reasons. First, estrogen levels decrease during menopause. This can results in reduced blood flow, causing less sensitivity to sexual stimulation and less vaginal lubrication, both of which may cause a woman to enjoy sex less and have difficulty achieving orgasm. Sex may even be uncomfortable or painful. It also may be due to dropping testosterone, the hormone active in every stage of sexual response. In addition, stress, other lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise, smoking, and drinking alcohol, can exacerbate the problem.
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Learn More About Revaree Which Harnesses The Natural Power Of Hyaluronic Acid To Deliver Hydration To Dry Sensitive Vaginal Tissues
Vitamins to Increase Libido and Female Sensitivity: There are a handful of naturally occurring herbs and supplements that have been shown to increase libido in women. However, in-depth scientific studies around these options have not yet been completed and more research is needed to determine their true benefits. Several of the most common herbs linked to enhancing sex drive in women include:
Theres No Shame In Rebalancing Yourself With Medications
For some, the desire for sex may still be strong, but other physical symptoms can get in the way. For example, the effects of decreased estrogen can cause vaginal atrophy, which narrows and shortens the vagina. The uterus can also prolapse and lead to discomfort, painful sex, and urinary leakage.
These symptoms can be managed using medications, including hormonal replacement therapy . HRT can come in various forms, like pills, foams, patches, and vaginal creams. The goal of this therapy is to help vasomotor symptoms and vulvovaginal atrophy.
HRT is an effective treatment for vaginal changes and libido, but discuss your needs in detail with a medical professional before starting a regimen. They can ensure that no medical risks are overlooked.
Another option is testosterone. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved this option yet, some clinicians do administer it. A few studies have shown that its led to a noticeable improvement in sexual dysfunction. Testosterone therapy options include pills, patches, creams, and oral therapies. All of these should be monitored carefully. Theres specific dosing for each type of transdermal testosterone product.
If youd like to go natural, there are herbal supplements that may help increase libido. Some supplements that have been recommended to increase libido in women include:
- black cohosh
- red clover
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A Womans Guide To Reviving Sex Drive
Know that old song Where Did Our Love Go? Many women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are asking, Where did our sex go?
Loss of desire is common in the years before and after menopause. Desire problems peak around ages 35 to 64.
Why? Itâs a time of life with a lot going on! Changing hormones can cause spontaneous desire or craving sex out of the blue to plummet.
âTo blame it all on hormones is unfair, though,â says Stephanie Faubion, MD, director of the Mayo Clinicâs Womenâs Health Clinic.
Whatâs called receptive desire being turned on when your partner makes the first move keeps going. At least, it can if related issues in your body, mind, or relationship usually some mix donât get in the way, Faubion says.
The fix for sex drive issues: Tease out the complex causes and address them.
Improving Sex Drive After Menopause
Everyones sex drive is a combination of complex internal and external factors, so it wouldnt be useful to say this is what you should do. Your sex life is yours alone. But here are some ideas to explore.
Of course, all of this is all well and good, but if your lack of desire is caused by low estrogen levels, these wont truly solve the problem . In these cases, addressing the root of the problem may be the best way to go.
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