Hormonal changes during menopause can cause physical and emotional effects that may affect a person’s sex life. When a person reaches their 40s, their estrogen and progesterone levels start to dip. Eventually, menstruation will stop. When a person has not had a period for 12 months, it marks the beginning of menopause. In the United States, this occurs at an average age of 52.
Some people experience menopause early. This may be due to genetic factors, a medical condition, or some types of medical treatment. If a person undergoes surgery to remove the ovaries or the uterus, the effects will begin almost at once. Regardless of when menopause starts, the reason it starts, and a person’s gender identity, it can affect the desire for and experience of sex. However, some treatment options can help manage these effects and improve a person’s quality of life. Read on to learn more.
During perimenopause, the hormones that are responsible for fertility and pregnancy, including estrogen, decrease. This causes changes in the blood vessels and tissues of the vagina and vulva. Some lifestyle modifications may be necessary to manage these changes.
One effect of these changes is vulvovaginal atrophy. The vulva and vaginal tissues lose elasticity and moisture, and they become thinner, become drier, and lose their folds. Thinner tissues are more easily broken, bruised, and irritated. The tissues also receive less lubrication. This intensifies friction during intercourse and increases the risk of damage.
Physical effects that can affect sex during menopause include:
- a decrease in vaginal tone or loss of elasticity in the vaginal wall
- pain, bleeding, or burning during sex
- a feeling of tightness during intercourse
- decreased libido or sexual drive
- difficulty becoming or staying aroused
- repeated urinary tract infections
Lower estrogen levels can also increase the risk of atrophic vaginitis, which involves inflammation of the vaginal tissues. This, too, can cause pain, swelling, itching, and burning. The experience of menopause and the severity of its effects can vary widely from person to person. It is important to see a doctor if these effects begin to interfere with daily life or reduce quality of life.….. Continue Reading……