“Sexual difficulties can be life-long or recently acquired,
but they are a common presentation at the menopause.
They may also be situational (limited to certain types of…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Sexual Health and Menopause Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Menopause and Sexual Health
  • Sexual Health and Menopause
  • Sexual Well-Being and Menopause

Menopause, Aging, Other Factors

Is there an association between menopause, aging, other factors and sexual health?

In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Changes At Midlife the NAMS elaborate on:

Sexual Health and Menopause “Every woman experiences her midlife years differently. The changes that occur during this period, including changes in sexual well-being, are typically caused by a mix of both menopause and aging, as well as by typical midlife stresses and demands”.2

In Looking After Yourself: Sex and Relationships – What Can Affect Your Sex Life? Stage of Life the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“At this stage of your life, you may have added pressures that affect your sex life. For example, children moving out of home, caring for elderly parents or work pressures.

You may also feel differently about your body at this age and may not want to be intimate with your partner as often as you used to”.3

In Looking After Yourself: Sex and Relationships – What Can Affect Your Sex Life? Menopausal Symptoms the JH also note:

“It’s common for different menopausal symptoms to affect sexual desire. For example, hot flushes, moodiness, sleeplessness and fatigue”.4

Sexual Difficulties

Is there an association between sexual difficulties and menopause?

In Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause the Australasian Menopause Society note:

“Sexual difficulties can be life-long or recently acquired, but they are a common presentation at the menopause. They may also be situational (limited to certain types of stimulation, situations, or partners) or generalized”.5

Sexual Disorders

What is it important to note about sexual disorders and menopause?

In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Sexual Health Problems At Midlife the NAMS note:

“The question of being troubled is key when it comes to any potential sexual disorder, since the issue is not the sexual “problem” or condition itself but whether it is bothersome or troubling to the person or partners involved. For instance, if both partners in a couple are content to live without an active sex life, then a condition such as vaginal dryness or erectile difficulty does not really represent sexual dysfunction. Similarly, a woman who notices some decline in sexual desire over time may not be troubled by it if she is not in a relationship. However, if she meets a partner with high libido, she may start to see her low sex drive as a problem”.6

Sexual Activity

Is there an association between sexual activity and menopause?

In Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Changes In the Vagina and Vulva – Vulvovaginal Atrophy the NAMS explain:

“When a woman doesn’t have intercourse or other vaginal sexual activity on a regular basis following menopause, her vagina may also become shorter and narrower. Then, when she does try to have intercourse, she is likely to experience pain, even if she uses a lubricant. That’s because dry, fragile vulvovaginal tissues are susceptible to injury, tearing, and bleeding during intercourse or any penetration of the vagina. The resulting discomfort can be so great that the woman avoids intercourse and the condition worsens. Sometimes, even women who are not sexually active are bothered by vaginal dryness and the irritation that may accompany it”.7

How may regular sexual activity help?

According to the NAMS:

“Continuing to have regular vaginal sexual activity through menopause helps keep the vaginal tissues thick and moist and maintains the vagina’s length and width. This helps keep sexual activity pleasurable”.8

Over-the-Counter Treatment Options

What are some over-the-counter treatment options for vaginal dryness?

In Vaginal Atrophy: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“To treat genitourinary syndrome of menopause, your doctor may first recommend over-the-counter treatment options, including:

  • “Vaginal moisturizers. Try a vaginal moisturizer (K-Y Liquibeads, Replens, Sliquid, others) to restore some moisture to your vaginal area. You may have to apply the moisturizer every few days. The effects of a moisturizer generally last a bit longer than those of a lubricant
  • Water-based lubricants. These lubricants (Astroglide, K-Y Jelly, Sliquid, others) are applied just before sexual activity and can reduce discomfort during intercourse. Choose products that don’t contain glycerin or warming properties because women who are sensitive to these substances may experience irritation. Avoid petroleum jelly or other petroleum-based products for lubrication if you’re also using condoms, because petroleum can break down latex condoms on contact”.9

Hormone Therapy

Is hormone therapy a suitable treatment for vaginal dryness?

On page three in the Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause, first published 10 June 2022, one of the recommendations is:

  • “Low-dose and ultra-low dose vaginal oestrogen preparations can be taken by perimenopausal and menopausal women experiencing genitourinary symptoms and continued for as long as required. All vaginal oestrogen preparations have been shown to be effective in this context and there is no requirement to combine vaginal oestrogens with systemic progestogen treatment for endometrial protection, as low-dose and ultra-low dose vaginal oestrogen preparations do not result in significant systemic absorption or endometrial hyperplasia”.10

Testosterone Therapy

Is testosterone therapy a suitable treatment for low libido?

In Looking After Yourself: Sex and Relationships – Managing Low Libido: Testosterone Therapy the JH elaborate on:

“The area of wellbeing and libido is very complex, and research tells us these are likely to be influenced by psychological factors more than testosterone. But testosterone therapy may be a suitable treatment for postmenopausal women who feel distressed by their loss of sexual desire. This condition is known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD)”.11

Is there a podcast about Testosterone Therapy for Postmenopausal Women?

Your Country may have a podcast similar to Libido and Testosterone Therapy.

Partners

What can partners be mindful of about sexual health and menopause?

In Information for Partners: Sex and Menopause the JH elaborate on:

“It’s common for women to have lower sex drive (libido) during menopause. This could be due to many things, including changing hormone levels, vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness (which can cause discomfort during sex) and lowered mood and fatigue”.12

Where may partners may find more information about sexual health and menopause?

Partners may find more information about sexual health and menopause in Information for Partners: Sex and Menopause.

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with my sexual health and menopause?

If you would like help with your sexual health and menopause, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In How Sex Changes After Menopause: Don’t Give Up on Sex During Menopause the (United States) Cleveland Clinic encourages us to seek help, elaborating on:

“If nothing seems to help and you’re bothered by your sexual (dys)function, talk to your doctor — and try not to feel embarrassed. These are common concerns, and your healthcare providers are there to help”.13

The (United States) Mayo Clinic also encourage us to seek help, explaining:

“Your health has a big impact on your sex life and vice versa. Don’t be embarrassed about discussing sex with your doctor. Your doctor can be a reliable source of information on sexual health. He or she can help you manage chronic conditions and medications that affect your sex life. Your doctor can help you understand how sexual activity may change throughout your life”.14

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Sexual Health and Menopause?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Sexual Health and Menopause?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause. Content Created March 2021. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/722-sexual-difficulties-in-the-menopause Accessed: 04 September 2022
  2. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Changes At Midlife. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife Accessed: 04 September 2022
  3. Looking After Yourself: Sex and Relationships – Stage of Life. Menopausal Symptoms. Last Updated: 31 August 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/sex Accessed: 04 September 2022
  4. Looking After Yourself: Sex and Relationships – What Can Affect Your Sex Life? Menopausal Symptoms. Last Updated: 31 August 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/sex Accessed: 04 September 2022
  5. Sexual Difficulties In the Menopause. Content Created March 2021. Australasian Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/722-sexual-difficulties-in-the-menopause Accessed: 04 September 2022
  6. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Sexual Problems At Midlife. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/sexual-problems-at-midlife Accessed: 04 September 2022
  7. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Changes In the Vagina and Vulva – Vulvovaginal Atrophy. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-the-vagina-and-vulva Accessed: 04 September 2022
  8. Sexual Health & Menopause Online: Changes In the Vagina and Vulva: Vulvovaginal Atrophy. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/changes-at-midlife/changes-in-the-vagina-and-vulva Accessed: 04 September 2022
  9. Vaginal Atrophy: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 17 September 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vaginal-atrophy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352294 Accessed: 04 September 2022
  10. Hamoda, H, Mukherjee, A, Morris, E, Baldeweg, S. E., Jayasena, C. N., Briggs, P, Moger, S. Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause. First published 10 June 2022:3-4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20533691221104879 Accessed: 04 September 2022
  11. Looking After Yourself: Sex and Relationships – Managing Low Libido: Testosterone Therapy. Last Updated: 31 August 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/sex Accessed: 04 September 2022
  12. Information for Partners: Sex and Menopause. Last Updated: 31 August 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/information-for-partners Accessed: 04 September 2022
  13. How Sex Changes After Menopause: Don’t Give Up on Sex During Menopause. 16 May 2022. Cleveland Clinic https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sex-and-menopause/ Accessed: 04 September 2022
  14. Have Questions About Sex? Ask Your Doctor. 01 October 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/art-20048805 Accessed: 04 September 2022
Topic Last Updated: 26 September 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 04 September 2022

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