How to Increase Your Libido During and After Menopause
After menopause, diminished desire seems to be something women believe to be par for the course. Now, there are a lot of reasons why your sex drive fluctuates through out your life up until menopause, but it should stand that sexuality still remains to be an integral part of human expression regardless of age. So just because your period has come to an end, doesn’t mean your sex life has to as well. Menopause can be a challenging time, and losing your sex drive can make it even more emotionally complicated. With the right tools though, you can take charge of your body to reclaim your sexual wellness.
What Does Estrogen Do?
In the female body, estrogen is produced primarily by the ovaries, and secondarily by fat cells and the adrenal gland. Estrogen performs its first major task during puberty, when the ovaries begin producing more hormones and preparing the body for fertility. Estrogen has significant influence over a woman’s sexual and reproductive health, helping your body to maintain a healthy vaginal wall, produce a thick uterine lining, and produce vaginal lubrication. But estrogen is more than just a sex hormone. These molecules also help the body break down and rebuild bones in a powerful metabolism. Estrogen helps with blood clotting. And, perhaps most importantly, it has been found to have significant impacts on the brain. Mood regulation is the first and most obvious role of estrogen in brain health, but recent studies have shown that estrogen may help control inflammation, impact learning, influence memory, and even help with brain recovery after injury. As such, this remarkable hormone can play a significant role throughout life.
Why Does Menopause Affect Libido?
Menopause, one of the most significant hormonal shifts in the life of the female body, occurs as the result of diminishing estrogen levels.The decreased amount of estrogen can produce uncomfortable side effects such as reduced blood flow to the vagina, which can cause the tissues of the vagina and labia to become thinner. If this happens, they become less sensitive to sexual stimulation. Decreased blood flow also affects vaginal lubrication, leading to uncomfortable vaginal dryness. Gradual vaginal atrophy like this would prove difficult to even reach climax.
Tips for Improving Libido
Everyone’s sex drive is a combination of complex internal and external factors, so it honestly wouldn’t be useful to say “this is what you should do.” Your sex life is yours alone. But here are some ideas to explore.
- Exercise. Maintaining a healthy heart and promoting circulation can help improve blood flow even when you are not exercising, making arousal easier. It can also improve your stamina and provide important mental health benefits, such as elevating mood and helping you feel good about yourself.
- Diet. A healthy diet supports all body functions, not to mention giving you more energy.
- Lifestyle. Excess drinking, tobacco use, and other bad health habits are known to damage sex drive. Minimizing or eliminating these behaviors may help you recapture your libido. Ensuring that you get enough rest is also critical.
- Stress. Decreasing stress is good for every part of your life, including your sex drive. In fact, acute and chronic stress are leading causes of diminished sexual desire. When you remove the weight of the world from your shoulders, you have more time to focus on yourself.
- Communicate. If you are in a relationship, communicate with your partner about how you are feeling. Talking honestly about where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there often makes everyone feel better, alleviates confusion, and prevents hurt feelings.
- Define sex differently. Explore your fantasies with a good lube that helps to support that all-important blood flow and diminish the discomfort from vaginal dryness. Also, sex doesn’t always have to be a form of penetration. Finding new ways to have fun takes some of the pressure away and makes sex more inviting.
Of course, all of this is all well and good, but if your lack of desire is caused by low estrogen levels, these won’t truly solve the problem (though they all might help!). In these cases, addressing the root of the problem may be the best way to go.