When Menopause Messes with Intimacy
No matter how nice the setting and how sweet your guy, it’s hard to feel romantic when your face is flaming red, sweat is running down your chest, and you have an odor that’s strong and unpleasant. It doesn’t help if you also have vaginal dryness, an aching body, and unending fatigue which can make intercourse painful.
Before you let menopause push it’s way into your relationship, there are some tricks you can use to kick it to the curb and stay intimate during menopause.
Take Control of Menopause Symptoms
First and foremost, talk to your doctor about whether or not using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is right for you. Managing menopause by bringing your hormone levels up could minimize and reduce many of the symptoms that put a damper on romance. If HRT is not right for you, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and alternative options for treating them. Eliminating some of the annoying symptoms of menopause could help fan the flames of passion again.
Whether it’s hot flashes, a bladder issue, or bacterial vaginosis causing odors, a whiff of a bad smell can dampen the flames of desire. You may need a stronger antiperspirant that you apply liberally after your shower. It might be time to invest in some new lotions and powers – but remember to keep them away from the vaginal area where they could worsen the problem. Menopause munchies may also have you snacking on too much sugar, increasing bacteria and fungi that may be causing some odors, so look over your diet and see if you need to make some adjustments. Your doctor may also be able to help by prescribing medications to treat bacterial vaginosis or urinary tract infections.
Take Care of Your Vagina
It may seem obvious, but it’s extra important to take care of your vagina during menopause. Lack of hormones can thin the skin, cause shrinkage, and increase your risk for infection. Keeping those issues at bay are important not only for intimacy, but also for daily comfort. Good hygiene is important, but you should not douche or use scented products in that area. Stick to mild soaps and detergents for both your skin and undergarments. Your panty choice matters, too. Avoid tight undergarments that can lead to limited air flow and an increased risk for sweat, bacteria, and infection. Panties that don’t fit well may cause friction which could also cause discomfort, irritation, and infection.
Get Some Sleep
Lack of sleep can extinguish intimacy by zapping libido, increasing depression, and just plain leaving you too tired to put forth the effort. Fatigue may also cause you to develop bad habits which further diminish intimacy. For example, you may eat poorly, skip exercising, and take short cuts with your appearance, all of which can lead to poor body image and deceased libido and interest in intimacy. Getting enough sleep may mean adjusting your HRT, using a supplement, or making some lifestyle changes, but staying on top of fatigue can lead to more interest in the bedroom. Ironically, romance can lead to better sleep, too!
Remember – Intercourse Isn’t Everything
While intercourse is enjoyable and desirable, you and your partner can be intimate in other ways, too. The closer you are outside the bedroom, the better you may be at managing the difficulties that menopause causes with actual intercourse. Communicate, go on date nights, and find new ways to enjoy each other in and outside the bedroom. There are a number of ways to stay sexual during menopause.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: When Menopause Messes with Intimacy