In this session we interviewed Individual, Couples and Psychosexual Therapist, Martina Bador, for her extensive knowledge and expertise on everything Menopause. In this blog find everything you need to know about the Menopause, what to expect, what can help and how it will affect your sex life.
The menopause is an ever-growing topic; more women than ever are publicly opening up about the challenging symptoms that they have experienced when going through menopause, or as it’s more commonly known – ‘the change’.
Gone are the days when menopause was considered the end of an era, as women are coming together in talking more, embracing their new bodies throughout and post menopause and looking further into what comes next. One of the biggest questions surrounding menopause – what does menopause mean for my sex life?
Every woman experiencing menopause is on a slightly different journey; no two women will experience the same symptoms. If menopause is raising concerns or issues within yourself or your relationship, our specialist therapists at the Leone Centre are here to talk to you in an environment where you can openly and comfortably speak about your journey through sex and the menopause – no matter what stage you’re at.
What is menopause?
The menopause is the effect of a midlife change in hormones, that effects almost all women, as a result of the decrease in oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The menopause is the biggest change in a woman’s body since teenagerhood and the results of these changes are physical and emotional symptoms that can be incredibly challenging.
- Testosterone helps with oestrogen production and libido. Testosterone affects growth, maintenance, and repair of a woman’s reproductive tissues and bone mass.
- Progesterone acts as an anti-inflammatory and regulates appetite.
- Oestrogen is one of the main female sex hormones and is mainly produced by the ovaries.
Signs of Menopause:
The result of the decrease in Testosterone, Oestrogen and Progesterone can include a range of symptoms. It is important to note that these symptoms do not happen to everyone, and woman can experience all, some or none of the different indicators with different levels of severity.
Signs of menopause include changes in energy and sleep patterns including insomnia, mood swings, hot flushes and itchy skin, lack of focus and concentration, deteriorating memory and headaches. In some cases, weight gain and incontinence can occur.
Other signs of the menopause that may affect your sex life is decrease in libido, problems reaching orgasm, vaginal dryness, atrophy, and pain during sex caused by vulval issues.
“The list is endless and terrifying”
The natural cessation of a woman’s menstrual cycle marks the end of fertility and the mid-point in a woman’s life. Menopause, along with the physical challenges, can also bring emotional hurdles. It is common to have feelings of low mood, loneliness and sadness; the feeling that a period in your life that has come to end. It can seem that no good can come from this stage in life, however it’s possible see this change as a chance for new beginnings.
How will the menopause effect my sex life?
As can be expected, reduced energy, lack of sleep, headaches and other physical symptoms can affect whether sex would be at the forefront of a women’s priorities. At a time where energy is so precious, some might wonder ‘why bother?’ Although it may seem impossible to find the energy, the more sex you have, the more sex you’ll want – providing you feel comfortable, and the sex is enjoyable.
The vaginal lining can change through menopause and become thinner and less elastic, producing less moisture over time – resulting in painful sex. Alongside this there is dying off of the tissues and nerve endings – resulting in less joy and a decreased force of orgasms.
“Sex is good for you! It’s good for your physical and mental health. A release of oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins improves wellbeing”
The menopause is a good time to be sexually experimental. At a stage where sexual desires and feelings are new, ensuring you’re engaging in sexual activities that can comfortably deliver pleasure is imperative. Something to consider, is that sex is any activity that sparks joy and is compatible with your current health status. Why not try something new? Remember your pleasure is just as important as anyone else’s and gone were the days where a man’s orgasm was the sole goal of any sexual encounter.
What can help?
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or equivalent – A treatment to relieve symptoms of the menopause by replacing the hormones that a woman’s body no longer produces as a result of the menopause.
- Encourage blood flow – Have more sex or masturbating, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, regular pelvic floor exercises and general exercises, including brisk walks.
- Research products – Products that can help include vaginal moisturiser, vaginal oestrogen, and vitamins and supplements.
- Communication – Communication is key during the menopause, especially during sex! Being able to communication what feels good or if something is uncomfortable is essential. Try to open up and voice if you would prefer trying something new.
- Experiment – There is an incredible number of products and options that can bring the action back into your sex life, including toys, lubes, and masturbation.
Things to be aware of
Medications such as anti-depressants can wipe out sexual desire and worsen symptoms of menopause. Ensure you feel your doctor is taking your needs seriously and not offloading you with anti-depressants.
There is no doubting that some women can have an incredibly difficult time going through the menopause – but not everybody. Every body is different and every person’s personal circumstances can determine if there is actually something you’re willing to do about the symptoms you’re experiencing.
No matter what you are experiencing through the menopause, something can be done to help guide you through an incredibly trying time. If you want to talk to someone about your options and how you’re feeling, talking to a therapist can be an effective solution.
Get it Touch
If you are at any stage throughout the menopausal process – from pre-menopause to post-menopause – and have any concerns, at the Leone Centre we have specialist therapists who are here to hear what you’re going through – from hot flushes to better sex.
Individual counselling can be a great option if you wish to speak about issues more privately, or couples counselling can support you and your partner throughout a frustrating time.