The average age for menopause is 51, and 95% of women experience menopause between the ages of 45 and 55. In this day and age, 45-55 years old is not “old” at all! But, the symptoms that often accompany menopause may very well make you feel old, particularly in the bedroom.
There are several ways that menopause can disrupt your sex life, but there are also treatments that can help. You don’t have to live with night sweats, hot flashes, or decreased sex drive.
How menopause can affect your sex life
Even though there is a list of symptoms that are common with menopause, everyone is different. You may have a few symptoms that are especially intense, or not experience many symptoms at all. Or, you may think you have all of the symptoms, dialed up to the most intense level possible!
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is a decreased libido, although some women experience the opposite — an increase their desire to have sex.
Another common problem during menopause is that intercourse is painful. This is called dyspareunia. You may have pain during penetration, pain during thrusting, or pain after intercourse, possibly for several hours. The pain may be burning, aching, or throbbing.
Vaginal dryness, also a common menopause symptom, may also impact your sex life. Hot flashes, which are medically referred to as vasomotor symptoms, don’t exactly make you feel sexy.
Hormone therapy has been extensively studied, and used properly, is a safe and effective way to treat the symptoms of menopause — including those symptoms that are disrupting your sex life. If you’ve had a hysterectomy, Dr. Pourzand may suggest you use an estrogen-only therapy, or if you still have a uterus, she may suggest an estrogen-progestin therapy.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need either systemic or vaginal hormone therapy to achieve optimal results. Products that raise the level of estrogen throughout your body are considered systemic, while vaginal estrogen is a lower-dose administered through a cream, gel, spray, or a ring.
Safety of hormone therapy
For many years, most women were given hormone therapy and it was considered a way to protect you from diseases such as osteoporosis. Then, the World Health Organization did a large study and found that the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other undesirable outcomes was higher for older women taking hormone therapy and for those who used it for a longer time.
The risks for women nearer the age of menopause, and those who use hormone therapy for five years or less, are quite low. Hormone therapy is considered as safe as birth control under those circumstances.
Dr. Pourzand evaluates your situation as an individual before making any treatment recommendations. In general, it’s best to take the lowest dose possible for the shortest length of time in order to get relief from your symptoms.
If you have questions about hormone therapy, or you’d like to find out if you’re a good candidate, book an appointment with Dr. Pourzand, at either of our convenient locations. You can use our easy online booking tool any time day or night, or you’re welcome to call us during regular business hours to schedule.