Many menopausal women cite vaginal dryness and low libido as a common symptom. As the age in which you go through the menopause can vary greatly, this can undoubtedly affect women in very different ways. The key thing to remember if you are experiencing this is not to be embarrassed about it, as a symptom, it affects women outside of the menopause also, so your GP will be well versed in advising you about this.
There are some fantastic remedies available that will help with dryness but also with libido, which is often linked to feeling anxious and stressed. This guide will walk through all of the options out there and explore why women go through these changes in particular during the menopause:
- Key symptoms that you may experience
- Exploring why sex drive is impacted during the menopause
- Tips, tricks and advice around how to ensure you’re fully equipping yourself to deal with these symptoms in the best way possible
What are the primary symptoms associated with vaginal dryness and low libido?
- Vaginal dryness can occur throughout the menopause, and for some women they experience dryness specifically when having sex
- Discomfort, irritation and a burning sensation
- Some women experience UTIs (urinary tract infections) often
- Many find getting aroused before sex very difficult, as well as reaching orgasm
- Some women cite the surface of the vagina looking pale and thin
- Having sex can be very painful, with some women also experiencing light bleeding
- Feeling low and anxious as a result of all of the above
Why has my sex drive decreased so much?
- One of the key reasons as to why sex drive decreases when women are going through the menopause is the decrease in oestrogen. As there is a decrease in blood circulation to your sexual organs, this will make you less sensitive to touch. Thinning of the vaginal walls and dryness also make having sex very painful, which psychologically can make you less open to the idea of intercourse.
- As well as lower levels of oestrogen, the body also experiences a decrease in testosterone, which is the hormone responsible for getting you “in the mood”. Because of this, it’s much harder for you to get excited about having sex, as well as reach an orgasm.
- During Perimenopause, which is the period of time leading to the end of your monthly cycle, all three sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) are all rapidly decreasing, which undoubtedly has an overall impact on your sex drive.
What can I do to combat vaginal dryness and low libido?
- One of the most effective ways to combat vaginal dryness and low libido is to keep having sex! It’s really important to not shy away from it and by having sex, you’re encouraging your body continue as normal. There are a wealth of different products and tips out there to help with this.
- Natural lubricants and vaginal moisturisers are the best way to avoid side effects that some conventional lubricants can cause (irritation, infection). They often also contain oils such as Vitamin E and tea tree, which lubricate, feel great and can also repair the vagina too.
- Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is of prime importance. Cardio is also a great way to keep active, with yoga also being a fantastic way to keep fit.
- Practising mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress and this improves libido. Reducing anxiety levels really does make a difference overall and can help you feel centred, in control and empowered.
- Maca Root has been used for centuries by men and women to help with libido. Dark chocolate can also help!
- There’s a whole host of literature available around sex and intimacy during the menopause. Some of our favourites include: Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne and The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi.
- Speak to your GP. There are several medical options you may want to consider, including vaginal oestrogen cream and HRT.
Whilst vaginal dryness and low libido affects many women who are going through the menopause, the important point to take away is that it is temporary and that once the menopausal stage of life is through, sex drive increases again. With the wealth of products that exist to help with the symptoms, vaginal dryness and low libido really does not have to hinder your daily life at any age, but particularly when going through the menopause.