Here’s the good news, though. We’re in the midst of a menopause rebrand. Our care providers are now providing treatment options that are actually helpful. They’re taking pleasure seriously, understand menopause, and are using hormones to treat it effectively.
Let’s Talk About What Menopause Is.
Here’s what the docs say. The official menopause kick-off is 12 months after your last menstruation. At this point, your hormone levels no longer allow you to be fertile. Usually, but not always, this happens in your early 50s. You may experience the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Thinner vaginal walls
- Pain during intercourse due to vaginal dryness
- Weight changes, especially around your middle as your body tries to save the estrogen produced by abdominal fat
- Bone loss
- Mood changes and brain fog
Before menopause completely takes over, your hormone levels change, and estrogen levels drop. This phase is called “perimenopause.”
A Little About Perimenopause
Your body releases its final eggs during perimenopause. Remember, you can still get pregnant during this time. Perimenopause usually begins while you’re in your 40s. You may experience the following symptoms:
- Irregular periods (nothing for months, and suddenly a ton of bleeding)
- Disrupted sleep
- Mood changes
- Changes in sex drive
Fun, right? Don’t worry. These symptoms are not only manageable, there’s a rapidly growing sex and pleasure market designed specially for women dealing with this.
Does Everyone Get Symptoms During Menopause?
Here’s the deal. Every woman will go through menopause. About 85 percent will experience the symptoms we mentioned above.
According to a recent national poll, 35 percent of women in menopause reported they experienced four or more symptoms. Get this, though. Only 44 percent said they discussed their symptoms with their doctors.
We’re not asking our OB-BYNs for help? Why?
Medical schools don’t offer much training in perimenopausal and menopausal care. Which is why many OB-GYNs minimize or dismiss the subject. They don’t bring it up. And earlier research studies linked hormone replacement therapy to a greater risk of various cancers. That stigma has been linked to HRT for decades. That’s changed, though.
Treatments and delivery methods have improved. Today, hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for hot flashes, vaginal changes, and preventing bone loss (osteoporosis) and fractures. The North American Menopause Society now touts the benefits of hormone therapy and states that the benefits significantly outweigh any risks for women under 60.
Want Hormone Therapy? Here’s Where to Get It.
Now that we’re on board with hormone therapy, it’s time to talk to your OB-GYN. There are different types of treatments, including topical and vaginal creams and suppositories. Your doc can explain the pros and cons of each option so you can make an educated decision about your choices. Hormone therapy can help control your moods, let you sleep better, and restore your vaginal tissue so you can have more enjoyable sex.
Why Estrogen is Important.
Estrogen is a big deal. It’s the hormone that drops the most during perimenopause and menopause. When that happens, those annoying symptoms begin: hot flashes, brain fog, vaginal wall thinking, and it’s harder to get sexually aroused. Thankfully for most, hormone replacement therapy works and is a safe, effective option for treating all that.
Other Treatment Options are Available
Here are some other tricks you can try.
Lube up! Playground has natural ingredients that work better than in-the-moment sexual lubrication. It has Vitamin E and Ashwagandha, which are both nourishing. Think of it as a facial for your vulva.
Maintaining Your Sex Drive
Y'all ready for this? Solo sex helps keep your sex drive high. It keeps the blood circulating to your genitals to keep your vaginal tissues healthy. Even better, it builds your sexual intelligence. You’ll keep learning what makes you feel good.
Managing Mood Swings
Hormone changes from perimenopause and menopause can step-up anxiety and depression. So, now is the time to practice deep breathing. It’s a tool you can use every day to keep intrusive thoughts in check, especially before and during sex. Best of all, it’s free!
Breathing deeply stimulates the vagus nerve. It’s a key part of your nervous system that turns off your fight-or-flight impulse. It gets you into a state of “rest and digest,” which is the state of mind we need to be in to have the best sex.
There are supplements out there too that support your mental health. Check out ones that contain natural, research-backed ingredients such as Ashwagandha, that support focus, sex drive, and healthy blood circulation.
Let’s recap. Yes, great sex can be had, even during peri and full menopause. First, we need to get rid of the misinformation out there about hormone replacement therapy. It is safe and can help if you’re dealing with symptoms. Talk to your doctor and learn about your options. Lubing up, taking a deep breath, and practicing solo sex are also good ways to go. After all, sex should be great at any age.