You actually looked forward to menopause. After all, who wouldn’t trade in monthly cramps, tampons, and fears of unwanted pregnancy for freedom from pain and birth control? But menopause brought its own challenges; painful sex and a low libido are among them.
At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville — with two convenient locations in Jacksonville, Florida — experienced OB/GYNs Daniel McDyer, MD, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD, help you manage menopause symptoms and get back to a healthy sex life. Though changes in your libido and sex response may be a “normal” and “natural” part of menopause, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them.
When you enter menopause, your body starts producing less of the sex hormones that triggered puberty, pumped up your sex drive, and urged your body to release an egg each month at the start of your menstrual cycle. One of the hormones that plummets during menopause is testosterone.
Though testosterone is sometimes characterized as a “male” hormone because it’s responsible for men’s secondary sex characteristics — such as a deep voice and high muscle mass — women need testosterone, too. In fact, testosterone’s the hormone that’s most responsible for your sex drive. When testosterone goes bye-bye, so do those fantasies about Brad Pitt … and your desire for your own partner.
The hormone estrogen helps keep your bones and skin healthy and strong. As you lose estrogen, your skin starts to thin, too, and that includes the skin in around your vagina and vulva.
When your vaginal walls are thin and lax, they can’t produce the lubrication you need to minimize friction during sexual intercourse. And since your testosterone is low, it’s not stimulating your tissues to produce more lubrication either. If you try to have sex, you may find that it’s uncomfortable, painful, or even intolerable.
Your vulvar skin and labia are affected, too. You may notice that your external sex organs don’t look or feel plump and juicy anymore. They may also feel dry and itchy.
Your skin isn’t as sensitive to touch as it once was, and even your clitoris isn’t as easily stimulated. You may have trouble achieving orgasm, or have weaker orgasms than you did before menopause. All of these changes not only affect your physical response, they can affect your sexual confidence and your overall self-esteem.
Just as the lack of key hormones is at the root of your disinterest in sex, restoring hormones to more youthful levels resolves your symptoms and reinvigorates your sex life. At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, Drs. McDyer and Suhrer recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women who are suffering from menopause symptoms, including low sex drive and painful sex. (And if your husband’s suffering from low libido, too, you might suggest that he talk to his doctor about testosterone replacement therapy).
The estrogen in HRT stimulates your skin to regenerate and produce more collagen and elastin. Thicker, healthier skin in your vagina also produces more lubrication, so you stay comfortable during intercourse. Your labia, vulva, and clitoris also become more sensitized again.
Your HRT also contains testosterone and progesterone. Testosterone revs up your sex drive, and progesterone also improves the health your skin, hair, and bones.
Even if you don’t have a partner, having regular orgasms helps keep you healthy both mentally and physically. Orgasms release the hormone oxytocin, which makes your body feel relaxed and calm. Restoring your sex life gives you extra benefits, including:
To find out how HRT can resolve menopause symptoms and make you feel youthful and sexually vibrant again, phone the Florida Woman Care location nearest you, or reach out with the convenient online contact form.