Sexuality

My sex drive seems to have disappeared. Is this normal?

Many women experience ups and downs in terms of sexual interest over the years as pregnancies, child care responsibilities and fatigue take their toll. So it is not unusual for women to report a decreased sex drive after menopause, or to feel sadness and a sense of loss. And yet others experience a greater sense of sexual freedom once concerns about pregnancy are gone. And for some, their partner may have health concerns, or the changes in sex drive are not a concern. The good news is that all of these feelings are normal and even though the sex drive may be less strong, for the most part, women do report that they are able to respond to their partner and have pleasurable experiences.

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Sometimes sex is more painful for me now. What can I do about it?

There are many conditions that can contribute to pain with sex. It may be related to reduced vaginal lubrication, or other physical changes in the vagina. If you experience pain during sexual relations, you should talk to your doctor.

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How can I get my partner involved in talking about changes I am experiencing in terms of my body and my sexual feelings?

Both women and men experience changes and anxieties associated with their sexual relations as they age. As sensitive as these issues may be, couples need to find a way to keep the lines of communication open in order to keep their sexual relations healthy. You may feel the need to talk to health professionals qualified to provide advice in this area; to make a difference, they will want to understand what each partner is experiencing physically and emotionally.

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If I have had a surgical menopause, will my sex life change in any way?

It is possible. Women who have had their ovaries removed may benefit from testosterone supplements, since their testosterone levels will likely go down. Since testosterone is linked to sexual feelings, taking it may help to restore desire.

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What can I do about vaginal dryness?

As hormone levels decline at this time of life, there can often be a direct impact on the tissues, muscles, glands and functions of the vagina and urinary tract. Vaginal dryness can be a menopause symptom, even for women receiving hormone therapy (HT). There are a variety of over-the-counter lubricating products available to help with this condition, along with vaginal estrogen creams that a physician can prescribe. If dryness worsens and leads to pain or discomfort, you should consult a physician or health professional. For more information, visit www.thebigow.ca

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What is local hormone therapy and how can it help me?

Local hormone therapies (HTs) use creams or devices that address a specific menopause problem such as vaginal dryness. These therapies are called “local” because they do not involve a medication that is taken by mouth. Vaginal creams containing estrogen are a local HT that help to ease vaginal dryness. Vaginal rings and suppositories may also be prescribed.

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Can I expect to have a healthy sex life after menopause?

There are many factors that can affect your sex life after menopause, but many women and their partners find that their sexual relations continue to be very satisfying after menopause. In fact, research shows that sex increases the blood flow to the genital area, something that is good for the long term health of the sexual organs. Issues such as reduced vaginal lubrication can be addressed with over-the-counter lubricants and/or a vaginal estrogen cream.

If you have concerns, talk first with you partner, and then make a decision about seeking professional counsel.

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Since I am having trouble with vaginal dryness and have some pain with intercourse, is having sex a good idea for me as I age?

In fact, research shows that sex increases the blood flow to the genital area, something that is good for the long term health of the sexual organs, especially the vagina. Issues such as reduced vaginal lubrication can be addressed with over-the-counter lubricants and/or a vaginal estrogen cream. For more information, visit www.thebigow.ca

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