Decreased desire, dryness, pain during intercourse. Here is a guide to all the intimate ailments that can affect the couple’s relationship and the appropriate treatments.
We thank the scientific input and medical supervision of our team of specialists for this article
There is little talk about the intimate life of a couple after menopause, there is no doubt. Yet many couples, perhaps you too, want to know more, because love does not end with the end of her fertile life: a woman now spends almost half her life in menopause and it is therefore quite incredible to think that sexual life can end.
Love continues, or new loves are born after separations, divorces or other personal events. That’s why it’s important to talk about it. Love does not end, therefore, even if it is true that many small ailments related to menopause can occur that can change a little the approach to love.
For example, we often talk about a drop in libido in menopause , but the common problems can be different:
- the vaginal dryness
- the pain during intercourse
- Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy .
These are very common disorders of which, however, little is said both with the partner and with the gynecologist, often out of embarrassment and shame. Yet they are the most frequently asked questions about love after 50 .
In this post we will talk about:
- First, a frank and sincere dialogue with your gynecologist
- Because menopause can change intimacy
- Psychological factors that could affect sexuality in menopause
- Vaginal dryness: what are the signs and what are the remedies
- Pain in intercourse (dyspareunia): what it is and what you can do
- When the pursuit of pleasure becomes difficult: the possible causes
- What to do to return to love
First, a frank and sincere dialogue with your gynecologist
Informing yourself and contacting the gynecologist to resolve the issues that take you away from love is more than important: it is fundamental. To ignore it and continue to put up with the little ailments your body exhibits is not a good idea, because:
- It can lead you to give up your daily well-being because many of these disorders impact on everyday life and can also affect normal activities
- It can have an impact on your health because certain annoyances and discomforts could also be symptoms of some more relevant condition (for example Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy ), which as such must be diagnosed and treated by the specialist
- It can undermine the relationship with the partner because intimate life is important and sexual health contributes to maintaining a lasting and happy relationship, as well as contributing to the physical and mental well-being of everyone (WHO – World Health Organization).
For these reasons we have prepared for you a guide to the main disorders of the sexual sphere that can interfere with the couple’s relationship.
Because menopause can change intimacy
Menopause can change intimacy as a result of a series of physiological changes that mostly result from changes in hormone levels . When the relationship between estrogen and progesterone changes, as is normal when the body prepares for the end of menstrual cycles , intimate changes can occur that can also have consequences on the sexual sphere.
The female reproductive system changes naturally after menopause , although not all women experience the same ailments. Every woman is different and every menopause is different, however the most frequent changes are:
- Reduction of natural lubrication and therefore a feeling of dryness even in the presence of arousal
- Vaginal sensation or actual narrowing
- Vaginal hyper-sensitivity and discomfort even on contact
- Frequent and annoying itching
- Frequent infections , which often develop right after intimate intercourse (such as the so – called postcoital candida ) and which can contribute to discourage intimate intercourse.
Psychological factors that could affect sexuality in menopause
To the physiological and physical factors, some psychological factors may also be added, mostly related to your “new image” as a woman .
Some women may feel demotivated and insecure approach, because of some “consequence” of menopause as the swelling or fluid retention , or as the ‘ gain weight more or less abrupt and difficult to keep the line, that some women complain since perimenopause.
Vaginal dryness: what are the signs and what are the remedies
The changed hormonal balances affect the tissues of the whole body , wrinkles increase, the skin appears less elastic, and even the tissues of the mucous membranes, such as those of the vulva and vagina, can see their natural ability to self-hydrate reduced . As estrogen and progesterone levels drop, intimate tissues become drier and thinner , causing their natural defenses to weaken.
This condition makes the vaginal walls less elastic and, consequently, more delicate and fragile , prone to irritation, itching and discomfort . This condition can worsen especially during the mechanics of a relationship, which in some cases can even cause microtraumas with consequent blood loss after intimacy , which can be annoying and – often – embarrassing.
For 1 in 2 menopausal women, this condition of dryness, pain and bleeding can be symptomatic of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy , a condition that few women know about but that many experience on themselves, without knowing it. Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy is a progressive condition, so it tends to get worse over time, but there are several effective treatments that an experienced menopausal gynecologist can direct you to.
Pain in intercourse (dyspareunia): what it is and what you can do
Dyspareunia is the medical-scientific term used to define the pain that a woman feels in the vulvar area and in the lower abdomen during or after intimate intercourse. It can also happen to young women, but it often occurs in menopause.
Depending on the extent and localization of the pain, there are 2 types of dyspareunia :
- superficial dyspareunia
- profound dyspareunia
Sexual pain can have different causes and in most cases of the appearance of these pains in menopause, it can be traced back to physiological factors such as the dryness of the vulvo-vaginal area , which can make intercourse difficult and cause itching, discomfort and , in some cases, microtrauma and small lesions that give intense burning and pain.
In these cases, the gynecologist can ascertain that behind a pain, often a cause of great concern for the woman who feels it, there are physiological causes related to the approach of menopause . Nothing to worry about, just to keep under control.
When the pursuit of pleasure becomes difficult: the possible causes
In menopause, it could also happen that the pursuit of pleasure becomes more complicated.
Generally it is the new hormonal structure and some more discomfort (which we described above) that make the pleasure less intense: the lower hydration and elasticity of the tissues, small anatomical modifications of the female genital system, but not least the relaxation of the pelvic floor which can have a decisive impact.
This muscle band that extends from the pubic bone to the height of the coccyx plays a fundamental role in ensuring physiological (continence) and sexual function. However, its weakening can be an obstacle to the contractions and stimuli that lead to orgasm. The good thing is that like all muscles in our body, the pelvic floor can be trained and strengthened . These invisible but effective exercises can help you regain pleasure and improve overall well-being.
What to do to return to love
The problems we have examined, if underestimated and left untreated, could have the consequence that you would not want: menopause can negatively affect the couple’s relationship .
Although it will seem strange, however, you must know that the menopause does not stop the intimate life , in fact, after 50 love can be equally satisfactory . It is up to you and only to you, however, not to want to give up this essential aspect of your life as a woman, especially now that you are living in a delicate period in which love can be better than medicine : it helps keep your mood high. , helps to keep the urogenital system healthy, constitutes a perfect injection of self-esteem and safety towards yourself and makes you feel loved and appreciated by your partner. Basically, it helps you to regain the body / mind balance that could be severely tested by the arrival of menopause .
To do this, it is important to have regular check-ups by the gynecologist and to report to the specialist without embarrassment or shame, your little ailments and your difficulties, if any.
A visit and some tests that the doctor deems appropriate to perform will be enough to regain the desire to love serenely, the ability to do it in a satisfactory way and with them the tranquility within you and in the relationship with your partner. Do not wait.