Sex and Menopause, Can I Still Have It?

Valentines is just around the corner and there can be a lot of pressure to make it the most romantic day of the year, but honestly, you’re not feeling it. Loss libido during menopause is one of the top three concerns of women during this transition stage, affecting up to 40% of women. A woman wants to know why she lost her sexual desire and what steps she can take to resolve this under researched menopausal problem.

Why Loss of Libido

Loss of libido can include psychological, relational, physical, and hormonal dimensions as unique as the women who experience them. Women experiencing a loss of libido find that they are less in touch with their sexuality, have less feelings and energy for sexual intercourse with their partner.

While women loss their ability to become aroused or achieve orgasm, the other menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and irritation may also have a huge impact on sexual dysfunction.

Causes of Loss of Libido

Like most other menopausal symptoms, the primary cause of the loss of sexual drive has its roots in hormonal imbalance, especially the decline of estrogen levels. However, physical, psychological and relationship issues can also have an effect on libido during menopause.

Hormonal Causes of Loss of Libido

The decline of three of the major hormones can contribute to the reduction of sexual drive and energy.

Estrogen is crucial for the upkeep of female sexuality for assisting in the production of vaginal lubrication, and maintaining the health of vaginal tissue.
As estrogen levels decline during menopause, it can cause a host of symptoms that can contribute to a woman’s loss of libido, such as hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, and vaginal dryness.

Progesterone is just as important for the upkeep of sexual drive and energy. A decline in progesterone levels can cause irregular periods and fatigue which can also lead to a lack of sex drive.

Androgens/ Testosterone
As with estrogen, the body also experiences a drop in androgens (e.g. testosterone) with age. Experts believe that this drop in androgens can also contribute to a loss of libido. Drops is these greatly cause male menopause, that’s for another blog.

Other Causes of Loss of Libido
In addition to hormonal causes, several other factors can lead to this common menopausal symptom. The other causes can be categorized into three groups:
Physical, Psychological, and Relational.

Physical Causes

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Pain-related conditions
  • Medication use
  • Hysterectomy
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Anemia
  • Chronic disease
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Psychological Causes
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in self-esteem and body image
  • Concerns about aging
  • Feelings about sex
  • Psychological disease (e.g. mood Swings, depression, and anxiety)

Relational Causes

  • Changes in partner’s physical health
  • Intimate relationship changes
  • Availability of partner
  • Lack of communication between partners
  • Changing social role
  • Family changes
  • Low sex drive in partner
  • Major life changes

The complimentary therapies for Menopausal Symptoms is:

  • Herbal & dietary supplements. Women are discovering symptom relief during the menopausal transition with the wise use of herbal and dietary supplements. Some commonly talked about supplements include; Hot Flash Tea™, magnesium-rich food, natural vitamin E and water-soluble B-vitamin.
  • Yoga, tai chi, qi gong. Meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms including the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress and muscle and joint pain.
  • Biofeedback. Meditation nonprescription techniques may relieve the symptoms of menopause including meditation, acupuncture, hypnosis, biofeedback and deep breathing exercises. Many of these exercises involve focusing attention inward and eliminating stressful thoughts. While this type of relaxation helps reduce stress immediately
  • Exercise. Weight gain is common after menopause and as many as 30 percent of women ages 50 to 59 are not just overweight today, they are obese. Lack of estrogen may cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which may indeed increase fat storage and make it harder for women of a menopausal age to lose weight. Women who adopt a routine of aerobic exercise manage weight gain more effectively.

It's important to have a discussion with your health care provider rather than tough it out. There are a lot of effective options available to help you navigate changes during the change.