Women often find that their sexuality changes as they age. Though sexuality is a complex phenomenon, the hormonal changes associated with menopause can contribute to these changes. Menopause is defined as starting one year after a woman’s last menstrual period. However, women can experience the hormonal changes related to menopause for up to 10 years before their last period (a time called perimenopause) and for many years after.
Hormonal changes can lead to vaginal dryness, pain with sex, feelings of low desire, and changes with orgasm sensation. Women who have hot flashes, mood changes, and cognitive changes associated with menopause are also less likely to have the energy or inclination to pursue sexual play with their partners.
The symptoms of menopause can affect more than women’s sexuality. Disruptive hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and memory changes can impact every aspect of life, including the ability to function at work and care for themselves and their families.
Fortunately many treatments are available to help women thrive through the menopause transition. Hormone therapy is a safe and effective option for many women. For others, an alternate medication regimen or other treatment strategies may be appropriate. Ultimately, each women has the right to a thorough discussion about the risk and benefits of each treatment option. A consultation with a menopause specialist can help guide you through these choices to create a treatment strategy tailored to your personal health history, risk factors, and preferences.
The menopause specialist at RCSW is certified through the North American Menopause Society to provide the highest quality menopausal care. We look forward to meeting with you.
Helpful books and other resources on this issue:
What Fresh Hell Is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You by Heather Corinna