Are Intimacy Issues During Menopause All In My Head?

Once you turn 40, you find yourself blaming menopause for a lot of things. It’s an easy scapegoat. It snuck in without permission and brought symptoms like hot flashes and acne, so it deserves the blame. Now you’re wondering if it’s to blame for your troubles in the bedroom, too.

If menopause is not directly to blame, it may still be indirectly creating problems with intimacy. It brings with it so many symptoms and changes; you’re left hot, tired, and miserable. The last thing on your mind is sex. For those times you try to enjoy it, you find it physically uncomfortable and maybe even painful, so you put it off more and more.

The good news is that there are treatment options that can help. Especially if you understand what’s going on.

Menopause Symptoms that Affect Sex

Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy during menopause directly affect sexual intercourse because sex becomes uncomfortable and even painful.

Bacterial vaginosis may indirectly affect intimacy during menopause because you feel embarrassment over the odor and discharge it causes.

Bladder problems during menopause may both directly and indirectly impact intercourse as the result of infections which may make sex painful or your embarrassment because of incontinence and leaking issues.

Sleeping issues are common during menopause, and the resulting tiredness can indirectly affect your interest in intimacy.

Depression, stress, and anxiety during menopause may indirectly affect your love life, and medications to treat them could directly impact your libido.

Other menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, dry skin, and headaches simply leave you feeling uncomfortable with yourself so you aren’t interested in intimacy.

Getting help.

You have a lot of options for minimizing the impact of menopause on your sex life. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can reduce a number of menopause symptoms that are both directly and indirectly causing problems in the bedroom. It can help you sleep better, minimize hot flashes, reduce anxiety, and so much more. It may boost your libido, too. If you believe that systemic HRT is not right for you, you can still consider vaginal estrogen for vaginal dryness. Not only can it alleviate symptoms, it can also restore your vaginal tissues so sex becomes more comfortable again.

Improving your lifestyle lets you be healthier which may reduce menopause symptoms, decrease stress, and treat underlying health issues which have been zapping your libido. If you feel better, you’ll also have more energy to put toward being intimate with your partner.

Keeping communication open between you and your partner is especially helpful when menopause is putting a damper on intimacy. You’ll feel more connected as a couple and you can work together to be intimate both inside and outside the bedroom. Intimacy is more than just the act of penetrative intercourse, so as a team you can find creative ways to keep romance alive.

If you’re willing, a health care professional or counselor who specializes in sexual dysfunction can help you identify and treat any issues which are affecting intimacy. This includes menopause, other health issues, underlying psychological issues, medications, and more.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Are Intimacy Issues During Menopause All In My Head?

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