Sex After Menopause
Although there are exceptions, a lot women during and just after menopause go through periods of time in which they feel totally turned off sex. This is normal. For some women this continues on into later life, but for many it does not. If you're going through menopause and simply feel that you have no libido, don't despair, the chances are that it won't last forever. Likewise, if you haven't noticed any change in your sex drive since menopause, or if you're enjoying sex even more than you used to - lucky you! This is also no cause for concern. If you need reassurance speak to your doctor.
There are quite a few potential medical causes for low sex drive during and after menopause. The primary candidate being hormonal changes - surprise, surprise. During menopause, your estrogen levels decrease. This affects the sexual and reproductive organs in a number of ways.
Firstly, you may find that your vagina feels dry, itchy, irritated or tight. This can make sex very uncomfortable. Such symptoms have been known to continue for up to ten years post menopause, but that's no reason to resign yourself to living with them. Speak to your doctor for advice - there are creams available for vaginal irritation, and lubricants can be used to make sexual intercourse more enjoyable. Although you absolutely have the right to abstain from sex during this time, you should know that having, regular, slow-paced, gentle intercourse will make having sex easier in general, i.e. if you don't do it for a long time, it may be more painful when you finally do.
The lack of estrogen working on your brain has its effects too. Since puberty, once every month just before ovulation, the hormone estrogen has been telling your brain that your body wants sex. Now that isn't happening in the same way. Furthermore, estrogen affects the genitals too - enhancing sensation and pleasure. The dropping estrogen levels may be dulling some of those good feelings.
When Will It End?
Remember that sexual desire has both mental and physical aspects. During menopause, your levels of certain hormones are decreasing rapidly - as menopause continues, these fluctuations will calm down and your body will find a new natural rhythm. Even though those estrogen-induced sexual urges may not be what they were before, they probably won't be completely absent. In fact, many women find that not having to worry about getting pregnant or having periods gives them a new found sense of sexual freedom, and even adventure.
The experts are by no means agreed on the use of testosterone therapy to help post menopausal women regain their sex drive - and there is no definitive proof that this treatment works. Women only have small amounts of this male hormone in their bodies, and what they do have decreases, like estrogen, during menopause. Because testosterone contributes to the normal sexual function of the female body, some doctors believe it can help to restore the post-menopausal woman's libido. Testosterone therapy is not suitable for everyone, however, because it must be administered in conjunction with estrogen. Estrogen therapy is contraindicated for women who have previously suffered from female cancers such as breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.