Sexual Desire & Menopause – Shifting From Neutral Back Into Full Speed Ahead

Staness jonekos The boomers lit the fuse for the sexual revolution, but for many slamming into menopause, sex is the last thing on their minds! Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties, according to the National Health and Social Life Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common.

Other things that contribute to a declining libido are pain during intercourse, relationship dissatisfaction, lack of sexual thoughts and aversion to sexual activity.

Addressing the physical, emotional, and environmental changes that often accompany mid-life, can make a proper diagnosis challenging. Are any these factors affecting your sexual health?

  • Emotional: Feeling unattractive, depressed, tired, sleep deprived, moody, isolated
  • Fluctuating hormones
  • Medications:
    • Antidepressants
    • Mood stabilizers
    • Contraceptive drugs
    • Antihistamines
    • Sedatives
    • Antihypertensives
    • Blood pressure medications

  • Medical conditions:
    • Depression
    • Thyroid disease
    • Androgen insufficiency
    • Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Neurological disorders
  • Cultural issues
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Midlife stress:  career change, loss, divorce, caring for parents and financial concerns 
  • Once you identify the culprits that kidnapped your mojo, you do have options to set yourself free.

    • Discuss options with your practitioner.  If fluctuating hormones are affecting your libido, there are therapies available.
    • Review current medications and medical conditions.
    • Talk to your partner
    • Consider counseling or sex therapy, or both
    • Adjust lovemaking activities: try warm baths before genital sexual activity, extend foreplay, incorporate massages, change your sexual routine, experiment with positions, discuss sexual fantasies
    • Use lubrication
    • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise more often and consume alcohol moderately
    • Commit to new stress-management practices, like acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga

    When women notice that their sex drive is diminishing; many seek out a prescription from their doctor for a does of testosterone thinking it will fix the problem.

    Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover, says  “The use of testosterone to treat a diminished libido is still controversial.  The FDA has not approved testosterone therapies for women suffering from a declining libido, but there have been preliminary scientific studies and extensive anecdotal reports that support the use of this therapy for improving the libido.”

    A little compounded testosterone gel may be worth considering. But if you and your doctor decide on  testosterone therapy make sure you are monitored carefully.

    DHEA is another hormone that is often promoted as a libido booster.  When you purchase DHEA, it is a dietary supplement, not a drug that is regulated by the government.

    Dr. Klein says, “If your DHEA level is tested and shown to be below normal, then it may be reasonable to take a supplemental dose of 25-50 mg daily.  However, if your DHEA level is normal, then there is no reason to take DHEA".

    There are many benefits to having a healthy sex life so don't be willing to throw your sexuality in the closet - it's too important.

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