Tips for Managing Sexual Health Risks in Postmenopausal Years
Menopause is a perfectly natural biological event that women undergo when reaching a certain age. In medical terms, menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing eggs every month. Basically, it’s the cessation of periods. Just like when you got your first period, your body will undergo changes after your last periods. It’s important to understand that menopause doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow transition, very much like adolescence. Mainly, your body will experience a dip in oestrogen levels, the “female” hormone. There will be a number of symptoms associated with menopause, such as the commonly reported “hot flashes.”
Most women are concerned about how menopause can affect their lives, especially sex lives. Menopause typically occurs when a woman reaches her mid-forties. Many women are still sexually active at that age and plan to be when older as well. The changes that happen to your body during peri- and postmenopausal periods could affect not just your sex drive in both physical and psychological ways. Read below to find out more about risks that can affect your sex life in postmenopausal years and possible ways to treat the problems:
Changes to the Vagina
The most common concern among older women with regards to sex is whether menopause would result in vaginal laxity. When the ovaries stop making oestrogen, it does lead to a weakening of muscles in the pelvic floor and the vagina. It may feel loose and kind of stretched. This condition can’t be reversed, but can be effectively treated. Some women have found great success with vaginal estrogens therapy. Some doctors also recommend so-called rejuvenation treatments such as laser vaginal tightening. Cosmetic rejuvenation treatments can be risky if you also suffer from other medical conditions, so always consult with your ob-gyn before you opt for this treatment.
Increased Vaginal Dryness
It’s common for the drop of estrogens levels to lead to a decreased amount of natural lubricant in the vagina, which can result in painful intercourse. This condition can be treated by using long-lasting vaginal moisturizers, extra lubricant, or with oestrogen therapy. Don’t avoid vaginal intercourse due to dryness because it’s important to keep blood flowing to the region to keep muscled stimulated and toned.
It’s very difficult to have sex with prolapse. Prolapse happens when the vaginal walls become loose or lax and are no longer able to support the uterus (womb), bladder, or the rectum to stay in place. Women who suffer from prolapsed may feel a bulge in their vaginas or get a sensation like sitting on a small ball. In some cases, there may be protrusions from the vagina. Dip in oestrogen levels during menopause and childbirth are common causes of prolapse. This condition is commonly treated with physiotherapy and surgery. In mild to moderate cases, hormone therapy may also help.
Loss of Libido or Sex Drive
Some women report lack of interest in sex after menopause. It’s important to keep in mind that loss of libido can be caused by many different reasons. It could be hormonal changes, but also stress, poor diet and sleep deprivation may also play a part. Oestrogen therapy may help some women get their interest back. However, it’s recommended to take a more holistic approach to reduce the overall stress associated with aging and menopause.
There’s no reason that a woman cannot be a healthy sexual being in older years. First, be aware of the health risks and then seek proper treatment from a doctor.