28 Feb 2013

What to do When Menopause Zaps that Loving Feeling

Of all the changes menopause brings, lack of interest in sex is one of THE most common and least discussed symptoms. Many boomer gals in the “free love” generation seem to have checked their lovin’ mojo at the door.

So, What’s Going On?

Mother Nature gives women a natural increase in the desire for sex beginning just prior to ovulation. This lasts for several days afterwards to make sure our bodies take full advantage of prime time for conception. But when we stop ovulating, we lose that regularly scheduled boost.

A decrease in circulating estrogen can bring your sex drive down for the count AND cause thinning of the lining of the vagina which makes sex very painful for some women. Sprinkle some negative thoughts about aging or weight into the mix and it’s no wonder things come to a screeching halt.

This is not a recipe for fun times!

Ready to Ditch the Dry Spell?

If you’re ready to put some sizzle back into a sagging love life, check out these suggestions:

  • Rule out medical reasons. Get tested for low thyroid function and iron deficiency anemia. These are two common disorders that can affect sex drive.
  • Find out if your hormones are imbalanced. You may have low testosterone which can be replaced with compounded cream. You’ll need a prescription for this.
  • Look in your medicine cabinet. If you are taking an SSRI antidepressant drug, birth control pills or diabetes medications, these may be contributing to lack of interest. You may have other options that won’t cause this side effect, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this.
  • Put estrogen on the spot. Using estrogen cream in the vagina soothes vaginal tissue, and allows the secretions necessary for comfortable sex. Estrogen is available as suppository tablets, creams, or “rings,” which sit inside the vagina and give off small doses of the hormone over time.
  • Vitamin E. When used locally in the vagina, Vitamin E can help rehydrate tissue and may possibly increase sensation. No need for a prescription here. Just stick a pin in a vitamin E capsule and apply to the vagina several times a week, even if you’re not having sex. And be sure to use a lubricant when you are having sex – either vitamin E or a commercially prepared product such as K-Y Jelly or Astroglide.
  • Talk to your partner. Open communication is always important…this is especially true in this situation. None of us wants our partner to feel rejected and that’s exactly what can happen if we’re not talking to each other! Explain what’s going on and the options you have to improve things. Approaching the problems as a team will help alleviate anxiety and fear.

Mojo that is MIA in menopause can be frustrating. But fortunately, there are a variety of options to try. Once the underlying cause is identified and addressed, you’ll be back on track!

Dr. Anna Garrett

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