Alongside other symptoms, loss of libido is a common and often distressing effect of the menopause. In my practice, I often hear the same questions from my female patients about the loss of libido during menopause, and that’s “Why am I experiencing a lower sex drive?” or “Why am I experiencing a complete loss of sex drive?”
Many women truly believe that once they’ve lost their libido, they can’t enjoy sex ever again, but the good news is, there are plenty of treatment options as well as lifestyle changes that you can try. You certainly aren’t alone, and sex is an integral part of our lives. If you’re experiencing a loss of libido, the first step is to understand what’s going on in your body and then address any issues early on. Read on for everything you need to know.
Why do some women lose their libido during menopause?
Reduced or absent libido is very common in menopausal women, and this is usually caused by declining levels of testosterone. Testosterone is one of the sex hormones that women produce, yet it is often overlooked. Women actually produce three times as much testosterone and oestrogen before the menopause. For many women, this decline, along with lowering oestrogen levels, can bring with it many distressing symptoms such as low sexual desire and an inability to orgasm. It can also contribute to a reduction in general quality of life, including tiredness, depression, headaches, cognitive problems and a decrease in muscle tone in your bladder and pelvis, which can lead to urinary incontinence and a weakening of genital tissues.
As well as this, you may now be experiencing discomfort during intercourse. This is caused by the decrease in oestrogen which had previously kept the walls of the vagina healthy and lubricated. Lower levels of this hormone can make those walls dry and irritated, which can make things painful. Surveys show that a very large percentage of women find sex painful. The majority of those find this causes a low sex drive, which negatively impacts their relationships.
What else may affect libido?
As well as hormonal changes, it’s also essential to look at your lifestyle and personal circumstances. Midlife is often a tiring place to be. At this time of life, you may be caring for ageing parents or coping with children leaving home. All of these can lead to heightened stress levels and chip away at interest in sex. You may also be dealing with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and loss of confidence as your body changes. This can also dampen sexual interest.
Regaining your libido
The earlier you address a reduced or absent libido, the higher your chances are of regaining it. If you are generally happy and have a good, sound relationship, your hormones could be to blame. In this case, BHRT or traditional hormone replacement therapy could help. Some women find that bringing their testosterone levels back up to a healthy level can help with this issue. For some women, loss of sex drive is down to psychological symptoms and in these cases, you could speak to an experienced counsellor to guide you forwards.
Eating healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil can also help keep the tissues in the vagina young, firm, and responsive. And include a collagen supplement in your diet, which will strengthen the vaginal walls and the muscles in this area.
Do also talk to your partner and help them understand the physical and emotional changes you’re experiencing. Try to focus on intimacy rather than sex, as this may actually boost your low sex drive.
The most important thing to understand is that you’re certainly not alone and you shouldn’t suffer in silence. If you’re wondering where to start with Hormone Replacement Therapy, this blog post may help.