How Your Sex Life Changes After Menopause

Menopause brings a lot of changes — some good, some … not so much. Some of the changes can be pretty subtle, while others can turn your life upside down. (Hey, they don’t call it “the change of life” for nothing.) Probably the most noticeable change is your lack of periods. Most women consider that to be a good change; after all, if you’re done having kids, the only “upside” to dealing with a monthly menstrual cycle is that at least you know you’ve still got ample estrogen. And that brings us to the really big change: the major decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen may be closely associated with reproduction, but that’s not all it does. In fact, estrogen affects lots of other aspects of your life, as well, including your level of desire and interest in sex, and your vaginal health. It’s this hormonal decline that ushers in most all of the changes associated with menopause, including changes that affect your sex life.

If you’re on the cusp of menopause, you’ve probably heard all about hot flashes, night sweats, and moodiness, but you may not know what to expect with regard to sex. Here’s a quick review of three of the most common changes you can expect.

You won’t have to worry about pregnancy

Many women (and their partners) find this to be a big bonus. No worries about pregnancy means you can kick your birth control to the curb, so you can stop worrying about side effects, counting days, or forgetting to use your contraceptives. (You still need to take necessary steps to prevent STDs, though.) Plus, by the time you reach menopause, there’s a good chance your kids will have left home, either to live on their own or to go to college. That means you don’t have to worry about awkward interruptions, either. Many couples find these two factors add up to a much more satisfactory experience, allowing them to be more spontaneous and even more creative.

Your level of desire will fluctuate — and may decrease

Estrogen plays a role in sexual arousal, and when the hormone decreases, your libido can decline right along with it. At the same time, lower levels of testosterone in men can increase the likelihood of erectile dysfunction. Taken together, intercourse becomes a lot more difficult. The good news is, you can still become aroused — it just might take a little longer, and you might need more direct contact than intercourse can provide. (This is where that creativity comes in.) Plus, many menopausal women (and their mates) say they find other activities, like cuddling and snuggling, to be just as enjoyable from an intimacy point of view.

Intercourse might be uncomfortable

This last one affects a lot of women, and again, it’s largely due to the drop in estrogen levels. Estrogen plays a fairly significant role in your vaginal health. When the level of estrogen declines, your vagina can become dry and brittle or thin and prone to irritation. These changes also mean the friction from intercourse can cause considerable pain, and sometimes even bleeding. You could use a lubricant or an estrogen cream for dryness, but lubricants need to be used every time in order to be effective, and estrogen creams can cause unhealthy side effects.

Instead, many women are opting for laser treatments using a state-of-the-art device called the MonaLisa Touch®. MonaLisa Touch treatments are performed right here in our office, without the need for anesthesia. The MonaLisa Touch system uses a wand-shaped applicator that’s inserted into your vagina. Once it’s in place, the wand emits controlled bursts of laser energy, penetrating your vaginal tissues to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. These two fibers help restore firmness and tonicity to your vagina, increasing your level of pleasure as well as your partner’s. At the same time, the laser energy improves your vagina’s natural lubrication, reducing friction so intercourse is more comfortable too.

At Women’s Care OB/GYN, we help women navigate the changes of menopause, offering the MonaLisa Touch vaginal rejuvenation system as well as other state-of-the-art treatment options to help every patient feel confident and comfortable. If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause (or perimenopause — the time leading up to menopause), we can help. To find out more, book an appointment online today.

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