Menopause is a normal event for women, when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and menstrual cycles end. The hormones are linked to your sex drive. So during menopause, you could experience changes in your level of sexual desire.
Research published in the American Journal of Medicine stated that a woman's sexual satisfaction can actually increase with age, despite the hormonal change during menopause.
However, other women can experience more severe symptoms. Changes that affect sexuality during menopause can include vaginal dryness. Decreased hormones can make vaginal tissues drier and thinner, which can lead to painful sex.
Night sweats can upset sleep patterns and make a woman too tired for sex. Even emotional changes can cause stress and lack of sexual interest.
Here are eight tips to improve your sexual health during menopause:
1) Be healthy
Eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke and avoid drugs and alcohol. All of these can all improve your mood and sense of well-being, both of which directly affect your sex drive.
2) Allow time for arousal
It can take some time for you to become aroused during sex. This is important as moisture from being aroused protects your tissues.
3) Do your Kegels
By exercising your pelvic floor muscles, you strengthen the muscles you use during sex. Added bonus: you can increase the intensity of your orgasms.
4) Avoid irritating products
Stay away from products that irritate your vagina. Bubble bath, strong soaps and douching might cause vaginal irritation.
5) Estrogen is important
Estrogen is needed to keep your vagina moist and stretchable. When estrogen is low, women may experience vaginal dryness, which as stated above, can lead to painful sex.
That can mean painful inflammation and thinning fragile vaginal walls, which can lead to small tissue tears during sex that can cause intense pain.
Avoid something like this by talking with your doctor. If you experience such menopause symptoms, ask your doctor about treatments or lifestyle changes that may help.
6) Low estrogen levels may not be the problem
Low levels of estrogen aren't the cause of painful sex in some postmenopausal women, according to a review published in Pain Research and Management.
The review suggested that other conditions such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, and even stress can compound the problem.
Treat these types of medical problems. In addition, treating conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, can improve the health of your blood vessels and therefore improve your sexual response.
7) Take stock of your medications
Medications can wreak havoc on sexual desire. Drugs like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and some allergy and cold drugs can kill your sexual desire.
8) Have sex more often
Sex can increase blood flow to your vagina and help keep those tissues healthy.
Connell, PhD, Kelly. "Sexuality and Menopause." Healthline. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
Dolgen, Ellen. "How To Have The Best Sex Of Your Life During Menopause." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
McCoy, Krisha. "Maintaining a Healthy Sex Life in Menopause." EverydayHealth.com. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
"Menopause." And Sexuality. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.
Reviewed January 14, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith