Sex Doesn't Have to Stop at Menopause

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: February 4, 2013

Eleanor is a 52-year-old woman who had always enjoyed great sex with her husband. However, since her total hysterectomy five years ago, she’s had a sharp decline in her sex drive. It’s become uncomfortable to have sex and she finds excuses to avoid it. She could care less if she ever had sex again! Eleanor wonders if she’s gotten too old to enjoy sex. Her husband was understanding at first, but he’s becomingly increasingly annoyed. He thinks she doesn’t love him any more! They’ve been squabbling more and her marriage seems to be deteriorating before her eyes.

After her hysterectomy, Eleanor took hormones for a while but stopped them after she gained weight! Her sexual problems started about six months after stopping the hormones. She used to be a great sleeper and now she tosses and turns at night and wakes up exhausted. She starts her day tired and has to push herself to get through the day. Even though she’s off the hormones, she keeps packing on the pounds, despite the fact that she’s eating less! She weighs more now than when she was pregnant and she’s feeling awful about her body!

Eleanor has several factors contributing to her sexual dysfunction. First of all, the body has a hierarchy of needs. The drive for sex will naturally decline in individuals physically fatigued from illness or lack of sleep. When a woman has recently gained a lot of weight, it affects her body image making her feel less attractive. If she’s in a relationship lacking in emotional intimacy, this can affect her desire for sex.

In addition, sexual dysfunction can occur from the loss of female hormones at menopause as in Eleanor’s case. Losing estrogen and testosterone leads to deterioration of the sexual organs leading to vaginal dryness and painful sex. Sexual dysfunction can be an early indicator of estrogen deficiency. Prolonged estrogen deficiency can lead to increased heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and a poor quality of life! The good news is there’s hope and help for women like Eleanor. In addition to improving systemic symptoms, replacing estrogen and testosterone along with a course of vaginal estrogen revitalizes the genital tissues! For more information on the safest forms of estrogen, read my book, “Outliving Your Ovaries: An Endocrinologist Weighs the Risks and Rewards of Treating Menopause with Hormone Replacement Therapy.”

About the Author:Marina Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.E., a UCLA-USC trained endocrinologist, is the Medical Director of the Institute of Endocrinology and Preventive Medicine in Dallas, Texas. In 2011, she spoke at the Cleveland HeartLab symposium at the Cleveland Clinic. She’s appeared on both Joni’s Table Talk and Celebrations on Daystar Television Network, The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, NPR radio, Daybreak USA radio and written articles for numerous magazines.

More Information:

Sexual Health and Menopause
Vaginal Health and Menopause
Life Between the Sheets: Sex and Menopause