The decrease of estrogen and testosterone during menopause can lead to changes in a woman’s sexual drive and functioning. Some menopausal and postmenopausal women may notice that they have a decrease in arousal, which may be accompanied by less sensitivity to touching and stroking. Menopausal women experiencing decreasing estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels, may have symptoms which include; irritability, depression, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, decrease in vaginal length, night sweats, hot flashes, lack of sleep, incontinence, and painful sexual intercourse may occur.
Taken individually, each of these symptoms may severely impact frequency and enjoyment of sexual activity. Many times, there are more than one symptom occurring simultaneously. Furthermore, body self-image may be negatively impacted by these changes, thereby affecting the way a woman perceives herself as a sexual person. Since menopause women generally have sexual partners in the same age range, partner-related sexual dysfunction during this period may also contribute to a woman’s sexual well-being.
While this may seem daunting, symptoms associated with menopause should not prevent a woman from enjoying a healthy and fulfilling sex life. These symptoms may be managed with hormonal therapy (oral, transdermal, or vaginal). While hormone replacement therapy is not appropriate for all women, with most, it can make a significant difference in terms of alleviating symptoms and improving sexual function.
Non-hormonal therapies such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, biofeedback, stress reduction, vaginal lubricants, vaginal dilator therapy, treatment for depression, partner sexual dysfunction treatment, and treatment for urinary incontinence may be used to treat specific symptoms that are found to be related to a woman’s menopausal and postmenopausal sexual dysfunction.
Certified NAMS Menopause Practitioner
Dr. McKenzie is proud to be a certified NAMS Menopause Practitioner, which designates her as having expertise in the area of women’s health midlife and beyond. Dr McKenzie is committed to providing the highest clinical care standards for menopause practice, and providing optimal menopause-related health care.