Debunking Myths About Sex After Menopause
Millions of women enter menopause every year, and no matter how prepared they think they are for all the changes they’re about to face, often the symptoms of menopause take them by surprise. When estrogen levels drop, it can take a big toll on your overall health. Most women know to expect symptoms like hot flashes, irritability, and night sweats. But other symptoms, including sexual side effects, aren’t talked about nearly as much. And that leaves plenty of women with lots of questions, concerns, and worries. What’s worse, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around that make it seem like once you’re in menopause, your sex life is pretty much over. But that’s just not true. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common myths about sex after menopause and what you can do to maintain your sexual health and your overall health too.
Intercourse will always hurt
Once they reach menopause, many women experience discomfort during intercourse, a condition known as dyspareunia. Not surprisingly, the discomfort you experience is due to the drop in your estrogen levels. Estrogen plays a key role in promoting normal levels of moisture in your vagina, and it also helps keep the tissues of the vaginal walls strong, flexible, and healthy. When estrogen levels decline, many women experience vaginal dryness as well as thinning of the vaginal walls. Both these conditions increase the likelihood of irritation and friction. Using personal lubricants can help tremendously, and so can other treatments like hormone replacement therapy.
Your sex drive is gone for good
Not so. Although the decline in estrogen can make women feel less interested in sex than they once were, there are lots of options for rekindling desire. For many women, increased fatigue associated with menopause is a big factor in lowering their desire for sexual intimacy. Night sweats often interrupt normal sleep, making fatigue even more severe. Other problems like vaginal dryness and discomfort can also play a role, along with psychological issues like chronic stress. The key to jump-starting your sexual desire is to understand and treat all the factors at play. At Expect Wellness, Dr. Hall uses a compassionate, holistic approach to identify all the issues contributing to your decreased sex drive to develop a treatment plan that’s just for you.
Vaginal dryness only matters if I’m having intercourse
Although vaginal dryness may be most noticeable during sex, it plays a role in other aspects of your health as well. Since the natural lubricants help defend against germs and other pathogens, a decline in these lubricants can increase your risk for urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Thinning vaginal walls and a decrease in elasticity in your vagina can contribute to urinary incontinence, including bladder leakage and frequent urges to urinate. Some women may find wearing certain clothing is uncomfortable. Activities like bike riding or even sitting for long periods can increase irritation if your vagina is very dry. Maintaining vaginal health is always important, but during menopause when estrogen levels drop, it’s important to take the extra steps necessary to help prevent infection and other side effects, even if you’re not sexually active.
Staying healthy during menopause
Once you’re in menopause, you’re in it for life. But that doesn’t mean menopause symptoms have to take a toll on your sex life or your comfort. With so many treatment options available to women today, there’s sure to be a solution for you. At Expect Wellness, Dr. Rachel Hall will work with you to develop a treatment plan that suits your lifestyle and your needs. To find out more about the treatment options she offers, book an appointment online today.