Menopause can be a difficult time in a woman’s life. Not only does it mark the end of child-bearing years but comes with a host of side effects, including sleep issues, bladder control problems and even a loss in libido.
How can you know for sure if these issues will affect you — especially the latter? We have some insight for you.
The role of hormones
As a woman’s body shifts away from menstruation, her estrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels plummet (each hormone plays a role in getting someone “in the mood”). Estrogen is also responsible for regulating blood flow to the vagina; the more estrogen a woman has in her body, the easier it will be for her vagina to self-lubricate, thereby making sex easier and pain-free. As a result, many women report a loss of libido during menopause, though some post-menopausal women do, however, report an increase in sex drive.
How to cope
Because it’s impossible to tell whether you’ll suffer from a decreased libido during menopause until you’re actually experiencing this bodily change, the best way to deal with the issue is to be proactive.
Because vaginal dryness can make sex painful, one surefire way to cope is to buy a water-soluble lubricant to make penetration easier. You can also invest in vaginal moisturizers, which encourage consistent vaginal lubrication over the long term.
Unfortunately no approved libido-enhancing drugs for women like Viagra for men are on the market. What you can do, however, is speak with your doctor to learn about estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), which helps boost estrogen levels in the body and regulate hormones.
Studies show that sexual arousal happens most readily and consistently in people who masturbate. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to touch yourself every day, but getting to know your body and what turns you on will help you become more comfortable with sex.
The healthier and more sensitive you are to your body’s changing needs, the better you’ll weather menopause’s side effects. Eating a well-rounded diet of fruits and vegetables and working out on a regular basis will help increase blood flow to the vagina, thereby increasing natural vaginal lubrication.