Menopause too early to give up on sex life

Women deserve to have a good sex life into their fifties and sixties and beyond and the menopause is too early to just give up on sex.

I do encounter women in my practice who have gone through the menopause and throw caution to the wind in terms of practising safe sex but they are the minority, not the majority. Most women accept the myth that sex is less important after the menopause and they are put off by issues such as vaginal dryness, pain, loss of libido, and the increased risk of cystitis.

Most women accept the myth that sex is less important after the menopause and they are put off by issues such as vaginal dryness, pain, loss of libido, and the increased risk of cystitis.

All of theses issues are more common after menopause and this can often make sex uncomfortable or even impossible.

The fact is that all of these things can be treated. Falling levels of female hormones are behind many of the problems associated with painful sex and loss of libido after the menopause so HRT can help. This can be delivered locally through creams and rosaries or via pills, patches or gels. Water -based lubricants can help reduce friction during intercourse.and counter the effects of vaginal dryness. Urinary incontinence is another cause of older women avoiding sex because they are embarrassed.  There is now a new non invasive product called Innovo which was developed by a physiotherapist and works out sending out impulses to trigger the pelvic floor muscles. It’s the first of its kind on the market and 93 per cent of women report sigbificant reduction in urinary incontinence symptoms within just four weeks.’ The device consists of pads which are worn on the thighs and buttocks over loose clothing and can be used at home.

Women should not be put off seeing a doctor if they are experiencing menopause symptoms which put them off sex. I’m a great believer in having a conversation with your doctor. He or she may be able to help solve your problems easily. Or they might be the signs that something more serious is going wrong. Blood in the urine an be a sign of cystitis, but it could also be a sign of something more sinister like bladder cancer. Itchiness around the vagina could be a due to diminishing ostrogen levels, but equally may be a sign of vulval cancer. It’s worth getting menopausal symptoms checked out, so they can be properly managed.

Dr Pixie McKenna

Dr Pixie McKenna

Dr Pixie McKenna is a GP based at the London Clinic and a regular contributor to Channel 4's TV series Embarrassing Bodies.
Dr Pixie McKenna

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R.Ross
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Menopause is an experience, not a disease. The body adjusts when it moves beyond childbearing years, if it is allowed to do so. There is no reason why most women should experience anything other than an end to their menstrual cycle.

In an age of maybe medicine, Menopause has been hijacked and turned into a disease which creates fear and more problems. If it is seen as an emergence into the wisdom of the crone years it has a better impact than being seen as the beginning of a period of decline and disease.

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