Low Menopause libido is a problem for many women. Females are complex creatures when it comes to sexual desire.
Compared to men of the same age group, women can’t just take a little blue pill to fix their problem.
Libido problems are not just caused by changes that happen in menopause. There are at least as many psychological and emotional reasons.
But you can blame Mother Nature for at least part of your low menopause libido. After all, nature invented sexual activity mainly for procreation and not so much for fun and games.
Women during their child bearing years are getting a boost in sexual desire right around the time of ovulation, when the chances of conceiving are highest. So it’s no wonder that , the libido slips a couple of notches (or for some women down the drain) when the ovaries begin to shut down.
Another reason is related to hormonal changes during the menopause transition. Numerous hormones play a role and scientists are still discovering the exact influence of these hormones.
Estrogen plays a key role in the chain reaction that makes you feel “in-the-mood”. Estrogen is a natural mood elevator but it is also, on a strict physiological level, important for the natural lubrication of the vagina.
Vaginal dryness leads to painful sex, and painful sex makes any desire you may have totally disappear. This creates a vicious cycle of increasing vaginal dryness and an even lower sexual desire.
Additionally, as in so many body functions, female libido has a “use it or loose it” aspect. The less sexual intimacy, the lower the libido and worsening vaginal dryness and atrophy.
Testosterone is also an important hormone for female sexual desire. One of the low testosterone symptoms is lack of libido. But testosterone replacement is difficult to get right and doesn’t work for every woman (only about 50%).
Women have only a very small amount of testosterone even when they are young. So adjusting testosterone is tricky and too much testosterone is certainly not desirable.
To date there is no FDA approved testosterone replacement for women. The exception is Estratest, a treatment for hot flashes, that some doctors prescribe off-label for low menopause libido (Estratest is a combination of estrogen and testosterone).
Women in other western countries have several testosterone prescriptions available but in the US testosterone for women is available only through compound pharmacies or off lable prescriptions.
We already mentioned that the mind plays a critical role in the sexual function of women. It is almost more important than the physical side (if you are otherwise healthy). So there is little surprise that emotional and relationship issues play a major role in menopause libido.
Although emotional problems are also an issue in younger women, some new hurdles pop up during the menopause age. For many women this is a time of profound changes, not just in your body but in so many other areas of your life. Children are leaving home, dreams must be reevaluated, and you are facing the reality of getting older. If worries like these weight on your mind, it is little wonder that intimacy is at the bottom of the list.
Depression is a known libido killer even in milder forms such as the menopause blues. Who can think of romance and intimacy when you feel that your life is in the dumps?
Stress also causes additional problems with your sex drive. When you can’t turn your mind off and relax, no way can you get in the mood. Intercourse becomes just one more thing to fret about – which causes more stress.
A related issue is fatigue. Sleep is hard enough to come by for many menopausal women for a variety of reasons. Plus there are so many demands on you anyway. You are running around all day to get everything done and when you finally get to bed you just think about sleep – and then he wants WHAT?
Besides emotional and hormonal issues, medications and illnesses can cause low menopause libido. Unfortunately, mid-life is a time when more and more general health problems appear.
Several medications are known to have a libido lowering effect. Anti depressants, especially SSRIs such as Paxil and Prozac etc can diminish your libido. However post menopause, women can get a boost from SSRIs as a small study has shown.
Birth control pills can diminish sexual desire. If you are in perimenopause and are still taking birth control pills, talk to your doctor about a prescription with a low androgen index. Estrogen binds to testosterone, making it less available in the body.
Sometimes estrogen therapy can have the same effect. If you experience diminished libido after starting estrogen therapy, you may have to adjust the dose or talk to your doctor about Estratest.
Now that you understand your low menopause libido, let’s find out what you can do to give it a boost!