By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 26, 2010
Menopause does not mean the end of your sex life. Sex can continue to be pleasurable no matter what your age. Menopause can create challenges, but there is no reason why women can’t have sex well into their golden years.
It is important to recognize that sexual desire decreases with age for both sexes. However, a recent survey conducted by the American Medical Association in 1999 indicates that sexual dysfunction affects approximately 43% of women in the United States. US population census data reveal that 9.7 million American women ages 50-74 report complaints of diminished vaginal lubrication, pain and discomfort with intercourse, decreased arousal and difficulty achieving orgasm. There is also evidence that the majority of female sexual dysfunction happens after menopause, when hormone production drops and vascular conditions are more common.
Decreased sexual interest and responsiveness are among the most common issues for peri-and postmenopausal women. Many approaches to therapy exist and sexual counseling can always be a valuable adjunct to any medical approaches.
Just what happens to women at menopause? First, menstrual cycles stop; women become incapable of getting pregnant and they experience diminishing levels of estrogen and progesterone. This causes a reduction in vaginal lubrication, there may be less elasticity of the genital tissues; thinning of the vaginal walls (vaginal atrophy); and intercourse may become painful.
Lubrication before sex is a necessity for most women at menopause. There are a number of short acting over the counter vaginal lubricants available which seem to work. However, for some the vaginal changes are more bothersome. Because women sometimes find that a simple lubricant/moisturizer does not help, they may prefer long-acting vaginal moisturizers which are placed in the vagina several times a week for relief of atrophic symptoms.
There are a multitude of products now available for therapy, including prescription vaginal estrogen creams. There is also a silicone ring which looks like the ring of a small contraceptive diaphragm and vaginal tablets which contain estradiol to relieve atrophic symptoms.
There may also be a great variability in women’s interest in sex after menopause. Some women have a marked decline in sexual interest, while others have an increase in libido.
A decline in sexual interest may dependent upon:
- Partnership availability
- Quality of your relationship
- How you communicate with your partner
- Whether you are depressed or experiencing stress
- Arousal and vaginal dryness issues
- Taking certain medications (i.e., SSRIs)
- In the absence of medical or psychological problems related to decreased libido, you may want to discuss the role of hormone therapy with your doctor. Most experts who deal with libido issues will advocate use of therapy for at least a 3-month trial period.
Recently, WebMD wrote “Women with FSAD (Female Sexual Arousal Disorder) reported satisfaction with sexual arousal less than one-third of the time while using placebo oil, but 85% of the time with Zestra, a non-prescription arousal oil that is applied topically. Women without FSAD reported satisfaction with arousal 73% of the time with placebo oil and 95% of the time while using Zestra”. Zestra is clinically proven to increase female sexual pleasure in healthy women, those with arousal difficulties, and those suffering sexual side effects from medications. Zestra is available at most pharmacy chains across the United States. For more information, please visit www.zestraforwomen.com.
Even with all these changes, there is no reason why sex has to come to a halt. If you are having sexual problems, it’s critical to identify and treat them. As you can see, there are a number of treatments available for a variety of sexual problems.
Every woman should consult with her doctor if there are any changes in her sexual functioning. In addition, good communication with your partner enhances sex. The more effort you put into sex, the more you will get out of it.