How Does Menopause Affect Your Sexual Health?

Women expect hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings when they reach menopause, but they’re often not prepared for its broader impact on their wellbeing, especially the change in their sexual health.

Each woman has a different experience, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but when problems develop, they’re primarily caused by the loss of estrogen.

If you have any concerns about your sexual health after menopause, the team at Southeast Urogyn in Jackson, Mississippi, is here to help answer your questions and more — they offer safe, effective, nonsurgical solutions.

Can menopause-related changes interfere with your sex life?

The loss of estrogen at menopause affects your health beyond the well-known hot flashes and mood swings. When you reach menopause and estrogen declines, you may develop one or more of the following problems, all of which interfere with your sexual health.

Vaginal atrophy

About half of all women develop vaginal atrophy after menopause. When estrogen declines, the tissues lining your vagina begin to thin. As the lining thins, it affects natural chemical activities that maintain a healthy environment, so you become more susceptible to inflammation and bacterial infections.

Loss of estrogen causes a decline in vaginal blood flow and a decrease in vaginal lubrication. The production of collagen and elastin also drops, which has a big impact because they’re essential for strong, elastic tissues.

In some women, the lower third of their vagina may become shorter — a change that often causes painful intercourse.

When you look at the whole picture of changes caused by vaginal atrophy, you can understand why it has such a big impact on your sexual health. Sexual intercourse is painful and less enjoyable due to:

Whether you have one or all of these problems, your discomfort is enough to make you avoid intercourse.

Loss of desire

Low estrogen can interfere with your desire to have sex and your ability to become aroused. You can also lose interest in sex due to mood changes.

Estrogen’s role in your body extends to your brain, where it influences brain chemicals important for your mood. Without sufficient estrogen, you’re at a higher risk of depression, which can lower your sex drive.

Lack of energy

Nothing kills the mood for sex like feeling so exhausted you only want to sleep. Although your overall health may contribute to lethargy, many women become sleep-deprived when hot flashes, night sweats, and frequent trips to the bathroom wake them during the night.

Changes in your appearance

Let’s face it, your sex drive can change when you’re not happy with your appearance. Sometimes you may not realize you avoid intimacy because you’re embarrassed by weight gain. In many cases, however, women are painfully aware of the changes in their body and feel unattractive to their partner.

When estrogen drops, you’re more likely to store fat and gain weight, especially around your abdomen. Following menopause, age-related changes in your skin become more noticeable, as it thins out, dehydrates, and loses collagen just as your vaginal tissues do.

What help is available to restore my sexual health?

Whether you’re in the middle of menopause and frustrated by changes in your sex life, or you’re about to reach that transition, it’s important to know that the team at Southeast Urogyn has many options to restore your vaginal and sexual health.

Surgical vaginal rejuvenation to tighten the vaginal wall is one option available at Southeast Urogyn, but you don’t need surgery to rejuvenate your vagina. You can choose from one of these safe, effective, nonsurgical procedures:

MonaLisa Touch®

This advanced medical device uses a fractional CO2 laser to gently warm vaginal tissues. The heat boosts blood flow and stimulates collagen and elastin production. As a result, vaginal tone and texture are restored, which diminishes all the symptoms caused by vaginal atrophy.

CO2RE® Intima

This is another type of CO2 laser treatment used to restore vaginal tone and flexibility. It helps treat symptoms such as dryness and pain, and can also be used to treat problems with your external genitalia such as pigmentation changes.

ThermiVa®

ThermiVa uses radiofrequency energy to heat vaginal tissues, tightening tissues and activating collagen synthesis.

Menopause may change your sexual health, but those changes don’t have to be permanent. Non-invasive treatments regenerate tissues, restore vaginal health, and make it possible to regain a healthy and satisfying sex life.

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