Low Libido and Vaginal Dryness

NO LONGER INTERESTED IN SEX AND THE DREADED DRY VAGINA

Dear Crabby,

My husband and I have been married for over 10 years and we’ve always enjoyed an active, healthy sex life. Lately, I have been losing sleep because I am no longer interested in sex. When we do make love, my vagina is completely dry and it makes intercourse almost impossible. My sex drive is completely gone. My husband has become very “Crabby”, and I have completely shut down physically.

I am 46 years old, and my periods have become irregular. I suspect that I may be perimenopausal. It has been almost six months since our last sexual encounter and I’m afraid my husband will start looking somewhere else for it. I feel guilty of not “pleasing” him anymore, but even more guilty of not even “wanting” to. Once a woman’s period stops, is it normal to not want sex because we are no longer “baby makers”? Am I “guilty” of losing interest in sex and not pleasing my husband?

GUILTY IN SEATTLE

DEAR GUILTY IN SEATTLE:

The only thing you may be “guilty” of is not having all the facts so you can continue to have a healthy sex life.

Vaginal dryness is a common menopause symptom. Intercourse can be painful if you are experiencing vaginal dryness. When estrogen levels drop, vaginal dryness can occur. Your vagina can tear more easily from friction, and the vagina tissues can lose their elasticity. Estrogen plumps up the cells in the vaginal wall so they produce more lubrication.

It is important to discuss this with your doctor to confirm that you are not suffering from a vaginal infection. Not only does the physical act of intercourse become a challenge with vaginal dryness, the emotional dialogue that goes on in your head when you no longer lubricate naturally, makes the whole encounter stressful. You ask yourself, “Why am I not turned on? He’s doing all the things I like.” Then you think, “What must HE be thinking? Does he think HE doesn’t turn me on?” Next you suspect, “It’s me, what’s wrong with me?” Your only option is to say, “I have a headache”, then roll over and cry yourself to sleep. No wonder you are sleepless and no longer interested in sex.

There is good news. Option #1: Low dose hormone therapy may bring relief. Option #2: A bioadhesive lubricant, such as AstroGlide that can be purchased over-the-counter, may bring instant relief. Option #3: If vaginal dryness is your only menopause symptom, you may consider using local estrogen treatment.

The loss of libido is another common symptom of perimenopause straight through post menopause. The loss of libido can also result from fluctuating hormone levels. Don’t let a decrease in hormone levels blow the flame of desire out of your love life, visit your doctor, take the appropriate tests and discuss treatment options.

Certain medications may also contribute to a declining libido: blood pressure, depression, heart disease, or diabetes medications.

If you need to treat your relationship, visit a counselor.

Besides the effects of menopause, it is also normal for your libido to decline with age. Between the ages of 55 and 65 sexual activity slows for men and women.

A healthy sex life is possible during and after menopause.

If buying lubrication, getting blood tests, and discussing hormones with your doctor seem like an effort, check out the amazing benefits of sex:

-Sex burns about 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex.
-Regular sex promotes circulation and lubrication!
-Having sex three times a week can make you look and feel ten years younger, thus boosting self esteem.
-Sex is the safest sport you’ll ever enjoy.
-Sex releases endorphins into the bloodstream producing a sense of euphoria, that can reduce depression.
-Sex is a stress reliever. It is ten times more effective than Valium.
-Sex can relieve headaches by releasing the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.
-Sex is a natural antihistamine that can help with asthma and hay fever.
-Sex can lower your cholesterol by tipping the HDL/LSL (good kind/bad kind) cholesterol balance towards the HDL (good) side.
-Regular sex can boost estrogen levels. Estrogen keeps your hair shinny, skin smooth; helps reduce the chances of getting dermatitis, and rashes.
-The actual sex act triggers the release of oxytocin that promotes more good feelings.
-Sex can help you sleep better because the levels of oxytocin, a sleep-inducing hormone, can be 5 times higher than normal during love making.

Now, let’s chat about your “guilt”. Women get joy out of pleasing the people we love, especially our wonderful partners. Of the two species, women are usually the “pleasers”. When something changes and we can’t please everyone as we used to, it is common to feel guilty. During perimenopause, menopause and post menopause our bodies are going through natural changes. This is nothing to feel guilty over. Just as our bodies go through a transition during puberty, our bodies also go through a transition as we end our childbearing years. This is a time when we need to pamper ourselves. We may have a little less time to give to others as we devote time to ourselves during this menopausal transition. This is a good time to find other friends going through the same thing, share information, lend support and compare experiences. Talking about “it” can make you feel better. It is a perfect time to build strong communication skills with your partner. The more your partner understands your menopausal journey the more supported you may feel regarding your insecurities.

Purchase a bioadhesive lubricant (Astroglide), visit your practitioner and discuss treatment options, take time for pampering, and being sleepless should only happen because you are making love to your Prince Charming.

Signed,
Less Crabby and More Loving

PS. A note to menopausal women who are in the dating world with more than one partner…. practice safe sex. You may be able to get pregnant and you want to avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease or AIDS.

Write to Dear Crabby and get advice about your menopausal symptoms.
If you have:
• Hot flashes
• Itchy skin
• Breast tenderness
• Mood swings
• Memory lapses
• Fuzzy thinking
• Night sweats
• Sleep problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry vagina
• Irregular periods
• Headaches

Dear Crabby has tips to make your life easier.
She wants to hear from YOU.
Send your questions to: DearCrabby@MenopauseMakeover.com

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