The changes that come along with menopause are no secret. There’s no shortage of songs, movies, plays, and stand-up comedy acts poking fun at the stereotypical symptoms, like hot flashes and mood swings. But if you’re a woman experiencing these life-changing symptoms and more, you know it’s no laughing matter. You also know that one of the changes is something that rarely gets discussed, even among close friends — your sex life.
If you’ve noticed a lack of interest in sex since you entered menopause, or you’re avoiding it because it hurts, you’re not alone. And while you may not talk about it at parties, you are safe to discuss it here with us at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey in Hackensack. Our team, led by Dr. Khashayar Shakiba, offers a discreet, professional setting where you can speak freely, get answers, and receive treatments that will help you reclaim your sex life.
What does menopause have to do with sex?
When you begin the early stages of menopause, called perimenopause, your body starts decreasing its production of certain hormones. That’s a big deal because hormones are the commandos of your bodily functions. Among many other things, they tell your hair when to grow and how long, they tell your ovaries to release an egg each month, and they tell your breasts to fill with milk when you have a baby. They even tell your body to get ready for sex and help you enjoy it.
Estrogen and testosterone (yes, women make testosterone, too) are two major players in your reproductive health, including sexual desire and satisfaction. Decreased levels of those hormones means decreased intimacy. Whether related to hormone levels or not, here are some of the specific ways menopause can wreak havoc on your sex life.
Fear of embarrassment
Because one of the common symptoms of aging and menopause is urinary incontinence, some women are afraid of “leaking” during sex. Even if they have a healthy sex drive, they may worry about an embarrassing incident and so avoid the act altogether.
We can help you strengthen your pelvic floor and regain control of your bladder through targeted exercises, or even perform surgery if needed.
Unpredictable moods that have you laughing one minute and crying the next can be the result of fluctuating hormones. That means depression and/or anxiety may be a new part of your life. Either state can cause you to lack an interest in sex.
Sleeplessness, another typical symptom of menopause, can make you groggy and grumpy and not the least bit interested in intimacy too.
Dr. Shakiba may suggest hormone therapy replacement to help balance your hormones and get you back to feeling like your old self again.
Another thing that estrogen and testosterone having been doing for you your whole life has been lubricating your vagina. You may not realize how important that is until you try to have sex without it. About 50% of women in the postmenopausal stage of life suffer from vaginal dryness. Fortunately, there are many over-the-counter products that can help you replace the lubricated environment you once had.
Another possibility is hormone replacement therapy or even vaginal estrogen. Once you meet with Dr. Shakiba, he can help you make the right decision for you.
One of the postmenopausal symptoms that’s difficult to describe and hard to talk about for many women is vaginal atrophy. This is a condition that causes your vaginal tissues to get thinner, dryer, and even inflamed. The result is painful sex that’s often accompanied by bleeding, itching, burning, and discharge.
Sometimes age and menopause cause the vaginal walls to stretch out and become so lax that sex no longer feels good.
We can help you restore those tissues without surgery and with no downtime. More and more women are discovering the life-changing benefits of the MonaLisa Touch®, a revolutionary laser technique that gently tightens the skin inside your vagina by stimulating your body’s natural production of elastin and collagen. It also improves your vaginal dryness problem and increases your circulation — more blood running through a healthy vascular system means more enjoyable sex.
If you’ve been lacking the joy of sex as a result of menopause, come and see us. We can help you navigate your unique combination of symptoms and reclaim your sex life. Call us at 201-279-5787 or request an appointment online today.