- Sex and Menopause: Answers About Pain, Low Sex Drive, and Helpful Treatment Tips Center
- Take the Menopause Quiz
- Menopause and Perimenopause Slideshow
- Osteoporosis Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Menopause and Sex - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Menopause and Sex - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Menopause and Sex - Improve Sexual Function
- Patient Comments: Menopause and Sex - Experience
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
- Will I have a low sex drive or other intimacy problems during menopause?
- How does menopause affect sexual function in women?
- Symptoms of peri - and -menopause that can affect sexual desire
- What are treatments are available for sexual problems during menopause?
- How can a woman heighten and improve her sexual function and desire during and after menopause?
Will I have a low sex drive or other intimacy problems during menopause?
- Although menopause may have some negative effects on sexual function, this is not always the case.
- Each woman's experience of menopause is unique; not all women have the same symptoms or experience symptoms with the same degree of severity.
- Decreases in estrogen levels after menopause can cause a decrease in libido.
- Vaginal dryness is another symptom of menopause that can have an impact on sexual function.
- Hormone therapy and water-soluble lubricants are two ways to help relieve vaginal dryness associated with menopause.
- Other symptoms of menopause, such as trouble sleeping and mood swings, can also interfere with enjoyment of sexual activity.
How does menopause affect sexual function in women?
Just as every women experiences menopause differently, women may or may not experience changes in sexual function after menopause. Since estrogen levels are lower after menopause, some women may notice that their libido, or sex drive, is decreased. Low estrogen levels can also lead to a decreased blood flow to the vagina, resulting in difficulty with lubrication or in dryness which that can make sexual intercourse less pleasant and painful for many women.
Not all women report negative changes in sexual function after menopause. For example, some women may find sex to be more pleasurable without the fear of unwanted pregnancy or without the potential stresses of having small children.
Symptoms of peri - and -menopause that can affect sexual desire
A decrease in estrogen levels is the hallmark of menopause, and this change in hormone level can cause a number of different symptoms. Not all women experience all the characteristic symptoms of menopause, but some women may have more severe symptoms than others. In addition to vaginal dryness and decreased libido, menopause can be associated with other troublesome symptoms that can affect sexual drive and function. Examples of these symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- Bladder control issues
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
These symptoms alone are sufficient to affect sexual function in many women.
What are treatments are available for sexual problems during menopause?
Estrogen therapy (ET) is available for women to treat symptoms of menopause, although due to some health risks (see below), not all women choose to take estrogen therapy. Estrogen, in pill, patch, trandsdermal spray, or gel form; is the single most effective therapy for troubling symptoms of menopause. Because ET alone can cause uterine cancer (endomketrial cancer), a progestin drug is typically given together with estrogen in women who have a uterus (those who have not undergone a hysterectomy) to eliminate this increased risk. Hormone therapy has been shown to have other risks, including small but significant risks of stroke and heart disease. Because of these risks, women who have no major menopausal symptoms may choose to avoid hormone therapy (HT) altogether. Most doctors agree that hormone therapy, when used for symptoms of menopause, should be used in the lowest effective dose and for the shortest time period of time possible.
Estrogen is also available for use in the treatment of vaginal dryness as an isolated symptom. Topical estrogen is available in forms of creams, vaginal rings (devices that secrete estrogen locally within the vagina for up to three months), and vaginal tablets. These products are inserted directly into the vagina, and they can help relieve some of the symptoms of vaginal dryness and discomfort. Water-soluble lubricants (such as K-Y jelly, K-Y Silk, liquibeads, etc.) can also be effective in the relief of vaginal dryness. Estrogen administered vaginally is given in very low doses, and it is noit associated with the risks of systemic (i.e. bloodborne) hormone therapy such as that given to treat hot flashes and other widespread menopause symptoms.
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.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Eden, KJ, et al. "Quality of Sexual Life and Menopause." Medscape.
Menopause and Sex - Symptoms
What symptoms have you experienced during menopause that has affected your sexual function (for example, low libido, or painful intercourse)?Post View 5 Comments
Menopause and Sex - Treatments
What treatments have you found helpful in resolving sexual issues and menopause?Post View 1 Comment
Menopause and Sex - Improve Sexual Function
What other remedies or treatments have you found helpful in resolving sexual problems experienced during menopause?Post View 1 Comment
Menopause and Sex - Experience
Please share your experience with sexual problems during perimenopause or menopause.Post View 1 Comment
Top Menopause and Sex Related Articles
Bladder InfectionBladder infection is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria or, rarely, by Candida. Certain people, including females, the elderly, men with enlarged prostates, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for bladder infection. Bladder infections are treated with antibiotics, but cranberry products and adequate hydration may help prevent bladder infections.
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. In the Study of Women Across America the Nation (SWAN) women had hot flashes that lasted on average 7 1/2 years. Symptoms of hot flashes include:
- Excessive sweating
Diagnosis is made by taking a patient history and, at times, blood tests. Treatment options include hormone therapy, bioidentical hormone therapy, and medications. There are non-FDA approved natural home remedies such as:
- Black cohosh
- Evening primrose oil
- Wild yam
- Dong quai
Hot flashes also can be caused by other conditions. Scientific studies to prove the safety and effectiveness of these products in relieving hot flashes have not been adequately performed. Consult your health-care professional before taking any herbal supplement.
Low Testosterone (Low T)Low testosterone (low-T) can be caused by conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver or kidney disease, hormonal disorders, certain infections, and hypogonadism. Signs and symptoms that a person may have low-T include insomnia, increased body fat, weight gain, reduced muscle, infertility, decreased sex drive, depression, and worsening of congestive heart failure or sleep apnea. Low-T can be treated with testosterone therapy in the form of gels, injections, pellets, or skin patches. Side effects of testosterone treatment include acne, anxiety, hair loss, headache, and change in sex drive (libido).
MenopauseMenopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Menopause QuizThe Menopause Quiz challenges your knowledge about the time in a woman’s life when menstruation ceases. Menopause can bring many physical, mental and sexual challenges to maturing women, but they don’t have to be limiting. Take the Menopause Quiz to learn the causes, symptoms and treatments of what’s known as "the change of life."
Menopause SlideshowWhat is menopause? What are the signs of menopause? What age does menopause start? Learn about menopause and perimenopause symptoms. Find the latest treatments for menopause.
Night sweats are severe hot flashes that occur at night and result in a drenching sweat. The causes of night sweats in most people are not serious, like menopause in women, sleep apnea, medications, alcohol withdrawal, and thyroid problems. However, more serious diseases like cancer and HIV also can cause night sweats. Your doctor will treat your night sweats depending upon the cause.
You may experience other signs and symptoms that are associated with night sweats, which depend upon the cause, but may include, shaking, and chills with a fever caused by an infection like the flu or pneumonia; unexplained weight loss due to lymphoma; women in perimenopause or menopause may also have vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes during the day; and low blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Other causes of night sweats include medications like NSAIDs (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), antidepressants, sildenafil (Viagra), and abuse of prescription or illegal drugs and drug withdrawal; hormone disorders like pheochromocytoma and carcinoid syndrome; idiopathic hyperhidrosis; infections like endocarditis, AIDs, and abscesses; alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal; drug abuse, addiction, and withdrawal; and stroke.
A doctor or other health care professional can treat your night sweats after the cause has been diagnosed.
Osteoporosis SlideshowOsteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and density. Osteoporosis causes symptoms of weak, thin, fragile bones. Learn the treatments and medications used to fight osteoporosis, as well as prevention tips.
PerimenopausePerimenopause is the time in a woman's life when she is approaching menopause. During this time a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels that may include mood swings, painful sex, night sweats, hot flashes, and weight gain. Every adult woman eventually will experience perimenopause.
Premature Menopause (Medical Procedural Causes)
Premature menopause is when menopause occurs in a woman before the age of 40. Causes of premature menopause include premature ovarian failure, treatments for cancer and other conditions, surgical removal of the ovaries, or chronic diseases of the pituitary or thyroid gland, or psychiatric disorders. Treatment is directed at menopausal symptoms.
Sex & Love QuizRelationships, sex, and love! Could it be that what motivates physical attraction in us may be all in our minds? Take the Sex & Love Quiz to challenge yourself on healthy human sexuality!
Benefits of SexHow would you like a stronger immune system or better sleep? Action between the sheets can help you get all of this and more. Read on to discover the surprising health benefits of sex.
Sexual Response Cycle (Phases of Sexual Response)There are four phases to the sexual response for men and women. Couple do not usually reach each phase at the same time, and they are dependant from individual to individual. The four phases of the sexual response cycle include phase 1, excitement; phase 2, plateau; phase 3 orgasm; and phase 4 resolution.
Smoking & Your LooksWhat are the effects of smoking tobacco? Besides and increased risk of smoking related diseases, smoking can affect your looks and moods. Get information on how smoking affects major organs, causes wrinkles, and increases your risk of cancer.
Vaginal Pain (Vulvodynia)
Vulvodynia or vaginal pain, genital pain is a condition in which women have chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. There are two types of vulvodynia, generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis. Researchers are trying to find the causes of vulvodynia, for example, nerve irritation, genetic factors, hypersensitivity to yeast infections, muscle spasms, and hormonal changes.The most common symptoms of vaginal pain (vulvodynia) is burning, rawness, itching, stinging, aching, soreness, and throbbing. There are a variety of treatments that can ease the symptoms of vulvodynia (vaginal pain).
Yeast Infection in Women and Men
Vaginal yeast infections in women are caused by an organism called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal pain with urination, vaginal discharge, odor, and itching.
Treatment is generally OTC medications. A man can contract a yeast infection from his female sexual partner. Symptoms of a yeast infection in men include penile itching. Treatment is with oral or topical medication.