Menopause is defined as the termination of a woman’s menses (period), indicating that she is no longer capable of becoming pregnant. Her ovaries aren’t making estrogen or progesterone any longer. When a woman hasn’t had a period for a year, she is regarded to be in menopause.
The average age of menopause is 51, according to the American National Institute of Aging. Menopause symptoms, on the other hand, can appear several years before menopause and might linger for months or years after periods have stopped. When a woman’s estrogen levels start to drop three to five years before menopause, she is said to be in perimenopause.
Menopause, like adolescence, is a natural phase of life. If you’re menopausal, it implies you’ve made it through a period in your life when you didn’t have much time for yourself—or for you and your partner—due to your commitments to your careers or raising a kid. True, some of us go through physical changes as we approach menopause, but there’s a significant plus: we finally have time to focus on ourselves. We have the opportunity to take care of our bodies and reclaim our sexuality.
How Does Menopause Affect Your Sexuality?
The symptoms of menopause can begin well before a woman stops menstruating completely. Good news: Most have no effect on your sexuality! However, you may notice the following, in various degrees:
Changes to the sexual response cycle: There are several phases to our sexual response, some of which may be affected by aging.
- Arousal and excitement. As women (and men) age, the excitement phase may take longer to reach because less blood is flowing to the genitals Just like blood flow is affected in other areas of our bodies as we age. It just takes longer and more “pumping” of the blood to get it moving through to your genitals.
- Solution: Use a clitoral stimulator to provide more direct contact.
- Plateau. Because your body may be producing less vaginal lubrication, your plateau phase—the build-up to orgasm—may take longer.
- Solution: Increase foreplay, and during intercourse.
- Orgasm. For many women, orgasms naturally become less frequent and less intense (this could be a result of diminished hormones, of medications you are on to treat common ailments, or another physical problem related to aging). However, your ability to orgasm doesn’t disappear!
- Solution: Let go of orgasm as the goal and enjoy the journey, since no orgasm certainly doesn’t mean no pleasure.
- Resolution. In this phase, your body recuperates.
- Solution: Bask in the afterglow.
Do all Women need treatment for Menopause?
No. not all women need treatment for menopause. Symptoms are merely that: symptoms. If you follow some sound suggestions, you can still have a terrific and satisfying sex life. It’s possible that you’ll have to do things a little differently. It’s very acceptable to inquire about menopause. In fact, the more you understand about this change, the better your sex life will be… I can assure you of that.
Menopausal women do not all seek or require medical assistance. Many women, in fact, do not have symptoms that are severe enough to necessitate therapy. If your symptoms are interfering with your regular life, you should consult your family doctor or gynecologist.
Some women are concerned that their doctor may automatically prescribe hormone replacement therapy. “We don’t automatically provide menopausal women hormone replacement,” my friend and colleague Dr. Cleve Ziegler, Director of Gynecology at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, has emphasized many times. We exclusively treat women who are sick and have a hard time managing their symptoms.” Doctors aren’t eager to inject you with hormones, so you should feel comfortable discussing your alternatives with them.
Finally, the type of treatment you should try is determined by your symptoms and medical history.