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Sex life after menopause?
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Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
According to the results of a new survey, more than half of all women experiencing menopausal symptoms said they had vaginal symptoms -- including vaginal dryness, pain during sex, vaginal atrophy, and increased urinary tract infections -- that affected their sex life. Click here to read the full story: Menopause Symptoms May Hamper Sex. What has been your own experience? Has menopause affected your sex life? In what way? Share your stories.
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40Something1960 responded:
Only "more than half" ? So there is what, a lucky 40 percent or so that don't have to suffer vaginal dryness? I always wondered why all the polls I see on "what is your most bothersome menopausal symptom" the answer is always hot flashes. I thought it was just because those women didn't care that their sex lives were ruined, but I guess maybe it was because they don't suffer dryness. Anybody ever wonder why nature has decided to do this to us? It would be nice if menopause just meant the end of menstruation. We have a limited number of eggs, when they are used up that should just be the end of it. It doesn't require a huge drop in hormones and all the symptoms that goes with it to make you stop ovulating if you are just plain out of eggs.
 
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Merrie1949 responded:
HI: I have been to gynecologists about this and no one seems to have an answer. I just turned 58 and this problem has destroyed my sexual enjoyment for 2 years now. I went through menopause at 51 and noticed this was happening, but wrote it off as an effect of aging. Now, I am not too sure. Here is the problem: I no longer have much feeling in my clitoris. There is just enough for me to remember what it used to feel like. My husband is a considerate lover and tries his best -- I now have to fake the pleasure in order not to destroy his. I am left even more frustrated than I ever was. I have never been able to experience a full-blown orgasm -- when it would start to bloom, it became very painful. I took what pleasure I could out of the buildup and was reasonably happy with that. I have always enjoyed sex with my husband, who is the only man I have ever been with. We have been married for over 36 years. I have numbness in my left leg and foot from what I assumed was degenerative disc disorder in my lower back. The doctors say I have spinal stenosis and many bulging disks -- again, aging. I did have back surgery for a lower back herniated disk in 1996, which greatly reduced my flexibility for years. I gained about 60 pounds in the following years, lost 40, gained it back and have recently lost 28 of those pounds for good -- working on the others. My blood sugar, however, continues to rise. At the last checkup 2 weeks ago, it was 110, up from 105 a year previously. Is this loss of feeling in the clitoris a normal thing for women my age? My outer labial lips are pretty numb and seem to have gotten smaller. What can I do? I am on HRT due to severe hot flashes, but I am taking a low estrogen dosage along with the yam progesterone. I would appreciate anything you can tell me about improving my situation. Thank you.
 
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sixtiesrock responded:
Sex life after menopause? Posted: Oct 08, 2007 I was so glad to find this discussion, which addresses a totally unexpected condition that has been more devastating to my quality of life than the loss of both breasts to cancer. Reconstructive surgery helped some with the latter; but since I dared not take hormones, increasing dryness and thinning vaginal walls that tear and bleed with the slightest activity have ruined what used to be my greatest earthly pleasure. I read that regular orgasms - whether induced by partner or self - go a long way toward keeping things in good order, and an estradiol vaginal ring (Estring) seemed to help somewhat, but I worried about the hormones and didn't continue after the first one. If anyone has had success with these or other approaches, I very much look forward to hearing about it. In the meantime, I'll just keep dancing...one of the great benefits of living in Austin, Texas! Thanks and best wishes
 
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shewillpreach responded:
I am a 55 year old woman who since the age of 48 has had peri-menopausal and post-menopausal problems. At age 48 I began four years of bleeding, sometimes 30-40 days in a row and then would stop for a few and then again another 30-40 days. At age 52 the bleeding stopped and I rejoiced until my body decided to begin hot flashes and vaginal problems. For three years I have had vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy (so my doctor states) and have dreaded having intimate times with my husband - not because I don't love him, because I would love to have a vibrant and fulfilling sexual relationship with him - but because it is so painful that I have experienced bleeding, cramps, severe pain, crying, etc. It's like one big nightmare and to top it all off, being a woman and feeling sensitive about this, it adds to the problem by making me feel like I am incapable of pleasing my spouse. I feel inadequate and embarrassed. My husband is a loving, understanding and patient man but it doesn't help me feel any better about myself. Because I am a Christian and believe in Jesus and the power of prayer, I have been praying for a solution to this problem. At one point about 5 months ago, I prayed that God would make me younger sexually so that I could again enjoy my husband and our relationship. Believe it or not my vaginal area began to be moist again and actually started bleeding for about 7 days. It was amazing. My gynecologist could not find any reason for the bleeding and stated that my body was trying to be young again. I made the mistake of not giving the glory to the Lord and told her I didn't know why this was happening either. Well, I've since decided to give glory to God for what he did then and am asking him to do it again and this time I will tell everyone. So, I will continue to pray and thank the Lord for healing me and one day very soon, I'm sure I will be writing to tell you about it.
 
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40Something1960 responded:
Sixtiesrock , I have read that also, that at this point it is "use it or lose it" and that the longer you go without sex the more painful it is when you do have it. Supposedly frequent sex keeps the muscles toned but it sure is difficult when you feel like yoi have lost the ability to stretch and are ripping instead. I have had severe dryness that started when I was only 30 years old and got severe when I turned 40. I suffered along with it using various lubricants that never felt normal and that while they do address the dryness do nothing for the loss of ability to stretch. I very breifly went on a prescription vaginal low dose estrogen cream and it was like a mirical in a tube, like feeling 20 years old down there again. But I couldn't stay on it because of the side effects, so now I'm suffering along again and feeling like at only 40 years old my sex life is over. Like you It is what was my greatest pleasure and it is devestating to lose it. What I am trying now (and I have not been at it long enough to tell you if it helps) is using vitamin e oil in there. Supposedly it is very moisterizing but they also say because it is an oil there is chance of getting an infection.
 
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akron26 responded:
I am going to turn 55 in December. I have an estrogen patch and use a progesterone cream. I also have an estring. When I had my last period at age 51, I simply stopped feeling anything when I had an orgasm. I have been to three OB/GYns and none have any response to this. Does anyone know what is causing this? Every article I read state it is a mental issue but I know that it is not. Can someone help with this? I have been married for 28 years and never had a problem until I reached menopause. Thank you, Akron26
 
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40Something1960 responded:
akron I think I would have to agree that it is a mental/emotional issue, because you have to be feeling something or else you would not be able to even have an orgasm.
 
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Lifes responded:
Hi, I disagree that it is necessary mental if you have no "feeling" with an orgasm. More likely, the loss of intensity has to do with medication side effects. Go over what meds you take, including over the counter meds. Meds that dull the senses (i.e. cause drowsiness, for example... pain meds, blood pressure meds, antidepressants, meds for nerve pain such as Neurontin) can affect how the brain "feels" sensations. I know that when I was on some pain meds, I could feel an orgasm build and let go, but... well, it did not have the UMPH! that a normal orgasm had. It left me feeling robbed of that big release. Oprah had a female physician OB/GYN on yesterday who has written books on Menopause. Unfortunately, I didn't catch the Dr name or titles of the books. One book was something like Menopause, the Wisdom of Women or something like that. Check one of the bookstores. This Dr. was expounding on the benefits in menopause of self-stimulation, not only for pleasure but to learn how one's aging body reacts and what does--and doesn't--work for you, with and without a partner. Supposedly, if you experiment enough, you can find some spot or activity that helps you respond in a way that feels satisfying. She also was encouraging women to really look in a mirror, naked, and to give loving statements to oneself about the physical body. Personally, LOL, I'm not sure affirmations will help me to love my growing fat stomach--LOL. Or, to love how my breasts and belly seem to "meet" now with no waist between the two! For the poster who wrote about having a numb clitoris, have you experimented with using stimulation just below the clitoris, on the skin above and between the clitoris and urethra (don't rub on the urethra though! - it is above that, on the skin, it feels a little like a soft pillow in that area). Using pressure, rubbing, or a vibrator in that area instead of on the clitoris or clitoral cover can bring pleasure. It feels different and a little more intense, but it's like stimulating the clitoris indirectly, from a different angle. The only thing I can report that felt weird with a vibrator there was that afterward, it still felt a tiny bit like the skin retained a little vibrating sensation later (but I have nerve damage, so I don't know if my neuropathy got stirred up or what). Anyway, stimulating that area helped me, and was similar enough to stimulating right on the clitoris, so it was satisfying enough to be an alternative. As to using regular kinds of oils in or around the vagina, unless these products are medically manufactured, there is a very high risk of infection or irritation. The OTCs medically produced formulations that give moisture have less chance of causing infections-- but I can't stand how grainy and gritty they feel. For the life of me, I don't know why the same KY Jelly feels smooth during a GYN exam, but gritty during sex-- unless it's because sex adds friction. But anyway, be cautious about using food, kitchen or cooking oils for lubrication because they are not the same as medically made products. If anyone knows the titles of the Dr's 2 books, please post them. Also, may I ask those who have had small vaginal tears during sex, do those "hurt" if they are inside? I've not had one inside that I know of, so I'm curious. I had a tear/rip on the outer labia down to the inner labia in my 20s and I couldn't stand or walk for a week (youch!). I so hope none of you are going through the kind of pain I had with that. (Ice helped mine; it had swollen a lot but the rip was outside. By the way... Has anyone asked a Dr if ice -like plain water frozen into a popscicle shape--can or cannot be used internally for a few minutes if you have a vaginal tear? I'm asking this, not saying to do it. I just wonder if using it would help reduce swelling, reduce pain, and help healing---or not??) Lifes
 
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akron26 responded:
I totally agree that my issue is not mental. I believe it is a hormonal issue or perhaps something to do with my thyroid. I only know that I never had any of sexual problems at all until I had my last period about 3 years ago. I am not sure about medications since I only take herbals and meletonin to sleep. I love my estring by the way which has cured my vaginal dryness. I recommend it to all women who suffer with this issue. I am still interested in finding out if other menopausal women have the issue I have with no limited or no feeling during orgasm. There has got to be an explanation for this and I am not giving up until I find it. Akron26
 
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pamatmil responded:
:crying: yes my sex life had really changed it is very painful even with the gels and premin does not work. I have FM and CMP to witch don't help. I have app. with the OBGYN Dec, 11 I hope at that time can give something to wake up my hormones.
 
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sb1958 responded:
Hey, sixtiesrock: If it's any consolation, it seems I remember reading that vaginal rings are a much safer alternative....more of a local thing than systemic and very effective for the vaginal symptoms. I haven't researched it that thoroughly since my issues [thus far> have had more to do with mood, concentration, anxiety, increasing night sweats....basically most everything else!
 
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psquare1953 responded:
Yes, it has affected my sex life with my husband alot! Vaginal dryness isn't fun, in fact it is extremely painful, and I am not looking forward to many sexual encounters with him in the future. He is a wonderful man, we have been married for 30 years, and I hope for 30 more!! Unfortunately, for him, probably not 30 more years of sex!
 
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sixtiesrock responded:
I'm guessing the book Lifes is referring to is Christiane Northrup's "Wisdom of Menopause." (Sorry for quotes, but formatting isn't working in this browser.) I hadn't heard about it yet--will get a copy ASAP--but was reminded that I had Northrup's earlier "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom." In the latter, pp. 548-549 (1998 edition) address "Vaginal Dryness, Irritation, and Thinning." She offers a number of treatment options as of that time. Both books, new and used, are available at Amazon.com; and if you have an account, you can read the pages I mentioned above (I used "thinning" as the search term) at: www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0553384104/ref=sib_dp_srch_pop?v=search-inside&keywords=thinning&go.x=18&go.y=12# Unfortunately, nothing I saw mentioned survivors of hormone-sensitive breast cancer, but it's a start! Wishing all the happiest possible holidays, sixtiesrock
 
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Lifes responded:
Yes, thank you, those are the books.


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