Sex and the menopause
Menopause bring hormone changes - including reduced oestrogen levels - that can affect a woman's sex life.
However, not all women experience sex problems after menopause and some women may find their sex life actually improves.
How can menopause affect a woman's sex life?
Menopause can cause:
Seek medical advice if menopause symptoms are causing discomfort or are interfering with having an enjoyable sex life.
Menopause sex problems treatment
A doctor may be able to help with sex problems after menopause. First they'll listen to a woman’s symptoms and feelings, will look at a woman's medical history, and may carry out a physical examination.
Treatment options may range from lubrication recommendations for vaginal dryness to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Vaginal lubricants can be bought over-the-counter or may be recommended by a doctor, and are applied before having sex. Water based products should be used if condoms are being used as oil based lubricants can cause condoms to fail. Although pregnancy is less likely with menopause, condoms still protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some sex positions may be less uncomfortable than others.
Therapy may be suggested for sex problems or mental health problems around menopause, including CBT ( cognitive behavioural therapy) to help deal with negative feelings, or sex therapy where a couple can get help about sex issues or lack of desire together from a specially trained counsellor.
Intimacy with a partner is still possible without actually having sex, from loving massages to candlelit dinners and romantic walks.
If UTIs or bladder control problems are affecting your sex life, a doctor can help with treatments or ways of preventing problems.