Although each woman may have a different experience, with the arrival of menopausemany worry that they will no longer be able to enjoy sexuality as before.
This occurs, above all, because the ovaries produce minimal amounts of androgens and estrogen, hormones that are vital for normal sexual response, which contributes to decreased sexual desire and arousal. Meanwhile, reduced estrogen can also cause vaginal dryness, causing pain during sexual intercourse.
However, the doctor Alicia Fernandez Villanuevasexologist and president of the Sexological, Educational and Psychological Institute (ISEP), assures that for a woman with menopause, it is possible to enjoy sexuality.
“When this (menopause) happens, not all women will feel the same way because sexual desire is a combination of the physiological effects and the mental part. It also has to do with how prepared the woman is to mentally stimulate herself and have sexual intimacy with her partner. And, although physiologically there may be a degree of vaginal dryness, there are ways to treat that with creams and medications.”explains Fernandez, who says that he has patients up to 70 years old who enjoy their sexuality very well.
If there are still sexual difficulties affecting the quality of life and the sexual relationships of the couple, it is time to seek help and counseling.
The sexologist and educator explains that it should be taken into account that, with aging, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and the use of certain medications can interfere with sexuality. Additionally, she highlighted other factors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol use, stress, anxiety, depression, negative past sexual experiences and relationship problems that can negatively affect sexual interest and appetite.
“In addition, this stage (menopause) must be attended to because there are many ways to restore these hormonal levels with the help of a health professional, such as a gynecologist. But there are many ways to deal with it and everything will depend on the evaluation made by the doctor,” says Dr. Fernandez, who believes that the decrease in sexual desire is a cause for concern to the extent that it causes problems in the relationship. couple.
Deciding how to treat menopause is done individually, depending on the symptoms, family history and health of each woman, indicates the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Hence the importance of consulting your doctor about your plan to relieve symptoms.
Here we mention some alternatives that you can discuss with your doctor:
Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal hot flashes. According to the Mayo Clinic, depending on your personal and family medical history, your doctor may recommend estrogen in the lowest dose and for the shortest period necessary to relieve symptoms. If you still have a uterus, you will need progestin in addition to estrogen. Estrogen also helps prevent loss of bone mass. But be careful, hormone therapy for long periods can present some cardiovascular and breast cancer risks. In addition, the combination of estrogen and male hormones known as androgens in the form of creams, patches and gels can increase libido in women and prevent vaginal dryness.
Bioidentical hormone implant
They are also known as “pellets”, a very small capsule that is inserted into an area of the buttock, through a simple outpatient procedure. They are designed for the body to use in the same way it uses the hormones generated by the body. In addition to working with sexual problems, it can help with other symptoms, such as hair loss, reduce fatigue, reduce hot flashes, less dry skin, reduce insomnia, increase memory, among others. The hormones are secreted slowly over about four to five months.
To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered directly into the vagina using a vaginal cream, suppository, or ring. This treatment releases only a small amount of estrogen, which is absorbed by the vaginal tissues. This can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort during sexual intercourse, and some urinary symptoms.
Antidepressants in low doses
Certain antidepressants can lessen menopausal hot flashes and may be helpful for women who cannot take estrogen for health reasons or who need an antidepressant for a mood disorder.
Medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis
Depending on individual needs, doctors may recommend medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis. There are several medications available that help reduce bone loss and the risk of fractures. Your doctor may prescribe vitamin D supplements to help strengthen bones.
“It is important that both partners understand that sex is much more than penetration. For example, massages and caresses, masturbation alone or with a partner, and oral sex are options. Sharing with your partner honestly about what you like and what you don’t is also essential. Understanding helps alleviate conflicts,” advises the sexologist, after highlighting the importance of learning to separate stress from your sexual life.
Improve your sex life
To improve the quality of your sex life, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has these 5 recommendations:
1. Increase desire: manages stress, solves relationship and communication problems. Focus on intimacy. Set aside time for the sexual act and focus on enjoying it.
2. Increase arousal: increases the time of preparatory play before sexual intercourse. Do not smoke or drink excessive alcohol. Use vaginal lubricants if you feel vaginal dryness.
3. Reach orgasm: increases sexual stimulation. You can try games and use fantasy and imagination.
4. Minimize pain: Try different positions and perform other sexual activities that do not involve penetration. Use lubricants if you have vaginal dryness and empty your bladder before sex. Allow enough time for arousal before penetration. If vaginal dryness does not improve with lubricants, visit your doctor as there are very effective treatments to solve this problem.
5. If you have not noticed improvement, visit a health professional with knowledge of these issues such as a gynecologist and a sexologist. Be open and honest. Involve your partner. There is no reason to feel ashamed. Everything has a solution if it is attended to in time.
Some symptoms of menopause
According to the Mayo Clinic, in the months or years leading up to menopause (perimenopause), you may experience the following:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intercourse
- Hot flushes
- Shaking chills
- Vaginal infections
- Night sweats
- Sleeping problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain and slow metabolism
- Thinning hair and dry skin