How Does Menopause Affect Sexual Function
Menopause is defined as absence of periods in 12 months and afterwards. Sex after menopause is not the same as it was in 20s or 30s. With menopause there comes various changes in your sexual activity, intimacy, etc.
Not all women have same menopause experience. The change in sexual function may vary from woman to woman. Some women may enjoy sexual intercourse after menopause as there is no stress of unwanted pregnancy.
Menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms that affect sexual functions
Some of the menopausal symptoms that may affect sexual functions include –
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
Impact of change in hormones and body on sexual functions
There are numerous physical changes in menopause phase as a result of decreased estrogen level. Some of the physical changes are –
- Change in vagina – The vaginal wall becomes dry, thin and this makes the sexual intercourse uncomfortable or painful.
- Loss of sensitivity – Due to decrease in blood supply in the genitals there is loss of sensitivity and this makes orgasm difficult.
- Physical symptoms – Menopausal symptoms mentioned earlier causes discomfort and affects sexual function.
- Weight gain – With lot of fats in the body a woman become image conscious and make her feel less attractive.
Impact of mental health issues on sexual function
Sexual intercourse requires coordination of mind and body. Thus mental health can significantly affect your sexual functions. Some of the symptoms of menopause such as mood swings, irritability, depression, etc interferes with sexual activity and thus affects sexual function after menopause.
Common sexual problems after menopause
With menopause there is decrease in estrogen hormone. Low level of estrogen hormone has a significant effect on sexual function. There is decrease in sexual desire and it makes the sexual arousal harder. With menopause there is dryness in the vagina and this causes painful intercourse. There are many women who complain of various sexual difficulties after menopause and in perimenopause phase.
Less frequency of sexual intercourse
There is decrease in sexual intercourse after menopause and also it is not as pleasurable as it used to be. There are many women who do not have sexual intercourse in perimenopause phase and the frequency of sexual intercourse almost becomes zero after menopause. You may feel intimated with your partner and one may need to use lubricant or other vaginal moisturiser.
Loss of intimacy
With advancing age and after menopause you may lack the intimacy with your partner. However there are women who remain sexually active even after menopause but may take longer time for arousal or find it difficult to orgasm. With increase in age there is less blood supply in the genitals and hence less sensitivity.
Conclusion Advancing age and menopause affects sexual function and a healthy sexual intercourse can improve the quality of life after menopause. Communicating with your partner and educating yourself with physiologic changes that comes with aging and menopause can help you a long way in keeping the sexual functions healthy.