Decreased libido or sexual drive is a common complaint during perimenopause. While libido itself is more related to psychosocial factors, there are increased sexual health issues due to the hormonal fluctuations. These, which we will go over, can lead to decreased sex drive and low self-esteem. It’s important to identify these issues in order to mitigate the effects on daily life.
The changes in hormone levels causes a decreased production of the naturally-occurring lubricant in the vagina. This decrease in lubricant contributes to pain or discomfort during sex. This can also contribute to vaginal bleeding or soreness due to the inflammation.
Use lubrication to help.
- Water-based: safe for use with condoms, safe for many skin types
- Silicone-based: hypoallergenic and ideal for sensitive skin, can use with condoms
- Oil-based: long-lasting; difficult to clean; increased risk of condom breakage
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections occur more commonly in perimenopausal and menopausal women. This occurs due to changes in the bladder lining with decreased estrogen levels. These changes include alterations in the existing microbiome in the urinary system, which make women more susceptible to urinary tract infections during this period.
See your doctor for antibiotics when you experience symptoms of UTIs, including burning with urinary, increased urinary frequency, and increased urinary urgency.
The hormonal changes contribute to weight gain in some women. This can contribute to lowered self-esteem and, in turn, lower sex drive.
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-Written by Paavana Varanasi