Will I Lose My Libido After Menopause?

Why Menopause Can Take the Sizzle Out of Your Sex Life

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The menopause libido link gets a lot of angst-filled press, and it may even leave you with the impression that you'll never be able to enjoy sex again. Both women, and the men who love them, talk about how difficult it can be when one has a higher libido than the other. Low libido has some pretty high stakes, namely, your relationship with your partner. It can be a source of friction and a source of sadness, for one or both partners.

Certainly, during and after menopause some women experience a drop in sexual desire. Fluctuating hormones, hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and fatigue can make it pretty difficult to get in the mood.

Every woman will have her own unique set of responses to menopause. The good news, however, is that post-menopausal women respond to sexual cues similarly to pre-menopausal women, and are more likely than pre-menopausal women to respond to love and emotional bonding cues from their partners. So not only can they respond sexually, they do respond sexually, much as they did before menopause.

What We Know About Menopause and Libido

Researchers are still exploring the connection between the hormone changes of menopause and the effect of those changes on libido. We do know, however, that many things can affect your sexual desire — before, during and after menopause. In addition to hormonal shifts, life circumstance, expectations, and psychology can play a role.

 

Depending on the perceived cause of low libido, treatment options can range from testosterone patches to psychotherapy. Testosterone patches and medications like Viagra, however, are not as successful in women as they are in men in treating this change.

Who's Most Likely To Have a Drop in Libido?

For many women, menopause does not mean a loss of sexual response.

That said, there are some risk factors that make it more likely that you will experience a drop in sexual desire. They include:

  • Women who have a history of sexual desire disorders
  • Women who undergo surgical menopause (after having their ovaries removed)
  • Women who suffer from vasomotor symptoms (like night sweats), depression, and insomnia

The Menopause-Libido Bottom Line

If you notice a drop in libido and it’s distressing to you, talk to your medical provider. Together you can explore the possible causes and discuss all the possible treatments.

After all, you owe it to yourself and your partner to have a healthy sex life and thriving relationship during menopause and beyond.

Sources:

Blackwell Publishing. “Pre- And Post-menopausal Women Equally Responsive To Most Sexual Desire Cues, According To Study.”ScienceDaily 28 May 2007. 7 September 2008. Mattar CN, Chong YS, Su LL, Agarwal AA, Wong PC, Choolani M. ”Care of Women in Menopause: Sexual Function, Dysfunction and Therapeutic Modalities”Ann Acad Med, Singapore. 2008 Mar;37(3):215-23. Retrieved 7 September 2008.

Reed, SD, Newton, KM, LaCroix, AZ, Grothaus, LC, and Kelly Ehrlich, K. “Night sweats, sleep disturbance, and depression associated with diminished libido in late menopausal transition and early postmenopause: Baseline data from the Herbal Alternatives for Menopause Trial (HALT),” Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 June; 196(6): 593.e1–593.e7. Abstract retrieved 6 September, 2008.

Shifren JL, Avis NE, “Surgical menopause: effects on psychological well-being and sexuality.” Menopause. 2007 May-Jun;14(3 Pt 2):586-91Abstract retrieved 7 September, 2008.

West SL, D'Aloisio AA, Agans RP, Kalsbeek WD, Borisov NN, Thorp JM. “Prevalence of low sexual desire and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in a nationally representative sample of US women.” Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jul 14;168(13):1441-9 Abstract retrieved 7 September, 2008.

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