Menopause comes with a lot of changes, some good (like an end to pesky PMS symptoms) and some pretty frustrating (like hot flashes). One change that many women notice around the time of menopause is a decrease in their sex drive and sexual satisfaction. This can create a huge issue with maintaining a healthy sex life and intimacy with your partner. As a result, many women really suffer from this change. Yet, very few talk about the issue with their doctor. Unfortunately, this means that many people go without treatments that have been shown to improve sex drive during menopause, like hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy is a popular treatment prescribed for all kinds of menopause symptoms, including things like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. Hormone therapy can also be really effective at boosting sex drive and improving sexual satisfaction for a more fulfilling sex life during menopause. Keep reading to see all the ways that hormones can affect sex during menopause.
If you’re experiencing low libido or other menopause symptoms, help is available from our team – make an appointment now at one of our convenient locations.
One menopause symptom that a lot of people don’t talk about is low sex drive. However, it’s really common and often treatable. According to one study, only about half of women ages 57 to 73 were sexually active, with those that were on average having sex less than twice a month. Also, an estimated 30% to 70% of menopausal women suffer from low sex drive. Low libido during and after menopause is a huge problem that affects a lot of women, so you’re not alone if you notice it’s hard to get in the mood, have a difficult time getting aroused, or even find that you avoid sex altogether. However, if you do notice these issues, know that hormone replacement therapy may improve your libido so you can enjoy more frequent and more satisfying sex.
Many studies have found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can improve sexual dysfunction in women during menopause. For instance, one study from 2007 looked at some of the health and quality of life effects for women using estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy. In the study, the women using HRT reported a 44% increase in sexual interest compared to the placebo group. Therefore, you may notice a significantly higher sex drive after beginning hormone replacement therapy during menopause.
There are many reasons you may notice you’re less interested in sex around the time of menopause. Contributing factors include hormone fluctuations and other menopause symptoms that can interfere with a healthy sex life. HRT may improve issues from both of these groups so you can enjoy the sex life you want.
A lot of hormones play a role in sex, including the big three that decline during menopause – estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. During perimenopause, these hormones will start to fluctuate, sometimes being higher or lower. Slowly as you reach menopause, overall levels of these hormones will decline. These changes are responsible for a lot of the symptoms you might experience during menopause, including low sex drive and even pain and discomfort during sex. This is also why hormone replacement therapy is often a treatment for low libido during menopause.
Estrogen affects sex in a few ways. For one, low estrogen levels can lead to symptoms that might interfere with your libido, like sleep and mood disturbances. Estrogen also plays an important role in blood flow to the vagina. With low estrogen levels during menopause, many women experience vaginal dryness, shrinking of the vaginal tissues, and even clitoral atrophy, which is where the clitoris can become smaller and doesn’t respond as well to stimulation.
Testosterone also plays a role in a healthy sex life for women. Many women suffer from low testosterone around the time of menopause, which affects sexual desire and arousal. There is a ton of research out there showing that low libido is a symptom of low testosterone in both men and women. Researchers aren’t exactly clear why, but the evidence is pretty overwhelming. As such, as your testosterone levels decline during menopause, you might find it really difficult to become interested or aroused for sex.
Finally, progesterone is another hormone that declines during menopause. Researchers are still looking into how progesterone affects sexuality. However, many experts do believe it likely plays some role in sex drive and sexual satisfaction, which can explain why lower progesterone levels during menopause are also associated with sexual dysfunction in women.
Menopause can also indirectly affect your sex life through other common symptoms. It can be hard to feel sexy or get in the mood when you’re suffering from a lot of uncomfortable symptoms, and menopause may come with a lot. For instance, some menopause symptoms that many women say interfere with their sex life include:
During this time in your life, you might also notice weight gain and changes to your health, which can impact your sex life, too. With body changes, many women struggle to feel attractive, which can make it difficult to be interested in sex. Also, health changes like struggling with heart problems, high blood pressure, and urinary incontinence often interfere with your libido. Therefore, there are a lot of factors that may be working together to interfere with your sex life.
There are several types of hormone replacement therapy that can improve your sex life during menopause, including estrogen replacement therapy and testosterone replacement therapy.
Estrogen replacement therapy increases estrogen levels in your body during menopause. If you still have your uterus, then it will be combined with progesterone replacement therapy to prevent an overgrowth of the endometrial tissue in your uterus. If you’ve had a hysterectomy, then we may recommend estrogen only options for hormone replacement therapy.
Estrogen replacement therapy can improve many symptoms of menopause that might affect your sex life. For instance, estrogen can increase blood flow to the vagina and clitoris, improve sleep and mood changes, as well as banish hot flashes and night sweats, all of which can affect your sex drive and sexual satisfaction.
In some cases, we may recommend testosterone replacement therapy as well. If estrogen-based HRT doesn’t improve your sexual symptoms, then testosterone may. Several studies have found that testosterone has a beneficial effect on libido and arousal in women. Even small increases in testosterone levels in your body can increase sex drive, so our team may prescribe testosterone alone or in addition to estrogen based HRT if you’re suffering from low libido during menopause.
Keep in mind that sex is different for everyone, with sex drives varying quite a lot from person to person. Just because one of your friends is having sex every single day and you’re not doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. However, if you do notice that your libido is lower than it used to be and that bothers you, then it’s time to talk to our providers about treatment solutions we can offer.
Also, remember that sex shouldn’t hurt, so that’s usually a pretty good indicator that you might benefit from treatment. Vaginal dryness and atrophy can create a lot of friction and discomfort during sex. These issues are really common during menopause, but know that there are options to help you feel comfortable and enjoy sex again. Hormone replacement therapy is a great option for improving your natural lubrication and the elasticity in your vaginal tissues to restore the pleasure during sex. The first step to enjoying a better sex life during menopause is to contact our team to discuss treatment options that work well for you.
Improve your health today with HerKare. We offer personalized treatment solutions for menopause and other women’s health issues. Our providers work with you to find options that fit your needs. Get HRT for your menopause symptoms to improve your health and well-being. We offer FDA-approved bioidentical HRT to bring your hormones back into balance. Get in touch now to schedule your first appointment.