Sexual problems are more common in postmenopausal women, which suggests that menopause can reduce libido.
The reduced sex drive is often caused by decreased estrogen levels, which can dampen arousal and result in sex being more painful.
In this article, we look at how menopause might affect someone’s sex drive, along with what can be done to improve libido.
What is menopause?
Menopause refers to when a woman stops having her period permanently, but it can affect more than a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Menopause can cause physical and emotional changes that impact a woman’s life, including her sex life.
Some symptoms and side effects associated with menopause include:
- bladder control issues
- decreased sex drive and desire (libido)
- difficulty sleeping
- thinning hair
- weight gain
Each of these effects can impact a woman’s quality of life and relationship with her partner.
What is libido?
Libido refers to sexual interest and sexual enjoyment.
Some women going through menopause report reduced libido, but the causes vary from person to person.
According to one reviewTrusted Source, the reported rates of sexual problems in postmenopausal women are between 68 and 86.5 percent.
This range is much higher than in all women in general, which is estimated to be between 25 and 63 percentTrusted Source.
Why does menopause affect libido?
Decreased estrogen levels can result in 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 and overall arousal. As a result, a woman may not enjoy sex as much and may have difficulty achieving orgasm. Sex may be uncomfortable or even painful.
Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause can also affect a woman’s mental health, which in turn, may cause a decrease in her libido.
Stress can also impact a woman’s libido, as she may be juggling a job, parenting, and be caring for aging parents. The changes in hormone levels a woman may experience during menopause may make her irritable or depressed, so dealing with everyday stress may feel more difficult.
According to an article published in the Journal of Women’s HealthTrusted Source, women who have more significant side effects associated with menopause are more likely to report lower libido levels.
Examples of these side effects include hot flashes, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.
Other factors that make a woman going through menopause more likely to experience a reduced libido include:
- history of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression
- history of smoking
- engaging in low levels of physical activity