Menopause

We Need To Talk About Sex & Menopause – 5 Things We Wish We Knew Sooner

Sex And Menopause

Are we sexperts? Um, no, with a capital N. Let’s make that clear right off the bat! But we are women over 40 who are experiencing various degrees of perimenopause and menopause with some information and resources to share when it comes to sex and menopause. And, girlfriend-to-girlfriend, these are things we wish we knew sooner. The narrative around menopause is generally not pleasant. And the narrative about menopause and sex even more so. So, if you are suffering from painful sex, lacking libido, or you’re basically just avoiding sex altogether, these findings and resources might be just what you need to hash out a plan toward improved sexual wellness before, during, and after menopause.

IMPORTANT: In addition to not being sexperts, we aren’t medical experts either. You should definitely consult your doctor before beginning any type of treatment. This is just a conversation to help you get started AND to let you know you aren’t alone.

For more on this topic, check out this post which shares 11 tips for having better sex after menopause.

sex after menopause tips

5 Things Women Need To Know About Sex & Menopause

Vaginal Dryness Problems

As Drew Barrymore so eloquently put it in a recent panel discussion with Oprah Winfrey about menopause (and we paraphrase)…No one wants to be “that dry old bag”…I mean, yes Drew, yes!! Unlike a dry sense of humor, a dry vagina just isn’t funny. And just in case you were wondering what the #1 cause of vaginal dryness is, it’s not dishes in the sink or a drama-filled eye-roll from your partner. Vaginal dryness is one of THE most common side effects of menopause. So, if you already really weren’t in the mood, how about we add pain and discomfort to the mix too?!

Since peri menopause has varied levels of symptoms that are very different among women, you could have been experiencing vaginal dryness for years…even decades and thought it was a “you” problem.

Dyspareunia

As estrogen levels drop during peri and menopause, the vaginal tissue thins and can become Sahara Dessert dry. This is called dyspareunia. Intercourse can become very uncomfortable, and even downright painful. The thinning tissue can lead to tears and bleeding. What can you do? There are hormone replacement remedies including hormone vaginal suppositories that can help. In fact, many studies we found showed women had very positive results after using vaginal hormone therapy for 2-3 months.  You can seek guidance from your Dr. or health care professional for prescription options and to determine if this route is right for you.

But, if you are like one of our team members, hormone therapies were not an option due to an underlining health concern. Alternatively, she tried a hormone-free vaginal insert called Revaree. Reveree is to be used about 3x per week to help renew the body’s natural moisture and rejuvenate vaginal tissue. Our team member says, “So far so good”. She’s been using it for about a month and did renew her order. She did notice some improvement and hopes that will continue with use. That being said, if hormone vaginal inserts are not an option this could be a helpful alternative for you. You can read more about it here.

Finger on peach

The Big O

Yep, we’re going there. Another problem peri and menopausal women experience is a newfound inability to reach orgasm. An herbal remedy, Ashwagandha, has been linked to improved sexual function. So…arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction. When one of our team members tested it, she did notice improvements! She shared she felt that a medication she was taking for anxiety (thanks again menopause!) was impeding her libido, but also blood flow which ultimately can cause issues with being able to orgasm. After taking it for several weeks, while not seeing a huge change in overall desire, she did experience a notable difference in her blood flow which led to, yes you guessed it, more frequent orgasms. She used this particular Ashwagandha from Care Of, called the Chill Pill, but you can also find Ashwagandha on Amazon here.

It’s no secret that aging men can fairly easily gain access to Viagra to help them with sexual dysfunction. But women’s sexual dysfunction is not as popular of a conversation when it comes to healthcare-led solutions and responses.

 

how sex changes after menopause

Looseness & Decreased Sensation

We learned that vaginal looseness and decreased sensation during intercourse are prevalent in 30%-50% of premenopausal women. Laser therapy is among the treatment options for this. While these treatments are definitely more intense, they might be a great option for you.

ThermiVa

One of our team members tried ThermiVa. ThermiVa is a thermal, radio frequency treatment used for tightening the external and internal vaginal areas. It also encourages collagen production and may help with tissue and nerve healing, vaginal dryness, and urinary leakage. She said it really does work, but you have to keep in mind the expense and the maintenance. The procedure includes 3 separate, 30-minute treatments over a period of 3 months. There is no downtime, and no medications are required. Then maintenance sessions are recommended once or twice a year. So, this is not a one-and-done treatment, but in her experience, very effective! She also mentions that while there is no pain at all, there is some obvious discomfort. You can read more about ThermiVa here.

Mona Lisa Touch

Another laser treatment option is the Mona Lisa Touch. Our team has no personal experience with this treatment, but we understand it’s a non-invasive laser therapy that treats vaginal atrophy (also called GSM or genitourinary syndrome of menopause). GSM can cause vaginal dryness, pain during sex, lack of genital blood flow, and even pelvic pain. The Mona Lisa makes microscopic wounds in the vaginal tissue…the key being microscopic. This procedure is said to be pain-free. The body’s wound healing system works to increase collagen formation and vaginal resurfacing. This treatment lasts about five minutes, and a single course of treatment includes three appointments, six weeks apart. You can read more about Mona Lisa Touch therapy here.

Sex And Menopause discussion

Topical L-Uber-cation

This story from another of our team members is just too good not to share. While chatting it up and being frank about menopause-related sexual discomfort with a girlfriend, the friend recommended a lubrication she said was called “Uber”. She said she remembered the name because, well, Uber usually gives you a “smooth ride”. You can’t deny that’s pretty catchy! It’s actually called Uberlube. Her physician gave her the following advice which she found really helpful. Her Dr. shared that when using a lubricant externally or internally at the “time of” you always need more than you think. She suggested laying out a very large, comfortable, and soft beach towel or blanket so as not to have any worries about stains or spills in the back of your mind. If your vaginal dryness symptoms are more on the minor to moderate side, this could be a really helpful option.

erin busbee, busbee style

Sex And The Mind-Body Connection – Let’s Talk!

Other medical and mental issues can affect how sex feels and ultimately how interested (or not) you are in having sex. This is NORMAL. So, if we have the conversation, make it a topic for discussion, and not just “accept” it as one of the many boxes on our menopause Bingo cards… then maybe you’ll feel inclined to seek some help. A visit to your Dr, a remedy described above, and most importantly transparency with your partner could be the key to getting that spring back in your step. Communication really is key! When menopause-related sex issues are treated as a “we” problem not a “me” problem, that can take away some of the shame, guilt, and frustration! It may be uncomfortable, but so is pretending that sex doesn’t feel like tiny shards of glass are scraping away at your insides…right?

Have you tried any of these treatments or others we haven’t mentioned? We’d love to hear about your findings in the comments below if you feel comfortable sharing. If we take away the stigma and amplify the discussion, we can all help each other with menopausal sexual wellness!

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team busbee

Join the Conversation

6 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About Sex & Menopause – 5 Things We Wish We Knew Sooner

  1. I had pelvic floor physical therapy (who knew there was such a thing?) following repair of a bladder prolapse. The therapist suggested that I add Kindra vaginal moisturizer to my daily routine. I use Premarin vaginal cream twice a week and on the other days I apply Kindra. It has had a HUGE impact on our sex life. You can buy it from their website or on Amazon. Also, my gynecologist recommended that I use coconut oil as a lubricant during intimacy. I highly recommend both!!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us all, Lori. SO glad you have found what works best for you, and so glad you are willing to share to help others! ~Erin xo

  2. I have GOT to share my experience with HRT pellets….I spent 10 plus years going through menopause and staying in that dry, shriveled up state b/c I was scared of hormonal replacement. Wish I had talked to people and doctors a lot earlier! If you are in good health and don’t have a medical history that includes breast cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, or blood clots, I would highly recommend HRT – the earlier the better. Most of the info we have about hormones causing breast cancer is based on old research, and the hormone levels are negligible for that. HRT will make you feel better, your joints will hurt less, your skin will look better, and your vaginal tissue will become re-infused with moisture…..I wish I had done it 10 years ago! I’m 64 now – you can start whenever!!!!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your own experience, Barbara! Your story is similar to so many others that we have heard and read… that they wish they’d started on it sooner! Truly appreciate you sharing, and adding in the reminder to always talk to your doctor about what will work best for you. So glad to hear it has helped you through this journey. ~Team Busbee

  3. I’m 61 and started using Estring, a vaginal hormone insert ring, about 2 years ago. What a huge difference it has made! Previously, sex had become painful and lubricants just weren’t doing the job. Absolutely no side effects. I only wish that I had started using it earlier!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Jane! I’m so glad to hear you have found something that works so well for you! ~Team Busbee

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