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The Link Between Menopause and Low Libido (+ What You Can Do About It)

The Link Between Menopause and Low Libido

Hormones play a direct role in numerous bodily functions including libido or sex drive. Studies show that even minor changes in hormone production and activity can impact libidinal activity. One of the most prominent periods of hormonal disruption is menopause.

This transitional period that occurs in women triggers major shifts in hormone production, balance, and activity. These changes can significantly reduce libido. Women going through menopause and experiencing libidinal difficulties may benefit greatly from learning about the influence of hormones, how menopause affects libido, and what can be done to restore sex drive.

What You Need to Know About Menopause

Libido is profoundly affected by hormone balance and function. Although there are many hormone-disrupting factors, one of the most widely recognized and impactful is menopause. Studies have found that many women, up to 40 percent, experience a significant drop in libido between the ages of 45 and 64. This stalling of sex drive may be explained in part by the onset of menopause, which typically develops within this age range.

Perimenopause, an initial phase of disruption that develops into menopause, occurs when production of estrogen declines and ovulation becomes infrequent. This intermediary period of inconsistent ovulation can last from months to years. A woman is considered menopausal if they have gone one full year without having a period. Getting a period indicates that the body is capable of ovulation meaning that pregnancy remains possible. Menopause causes a cessation of ovulation making future pregnancy impossible.

Menopause is accompanied by various symptoms and dysfunction including a loss of libido. Symptoms of menopause may manifest themselves in the following way:

  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Heavy or missing periods
  • Cramping
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Acne
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Memory loss

Each of these symptoms can promote feelings of inadequacy, frustration, anxiety, sadness, and depression. Each of which can further inhibit libido.

The great hormonal changes triggered by menopause may also increase the risk for developing major health conditions including cardiovascular disease, mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and various cancers.

Hormonal Shifts and Their Effect on Libido

In the times during and surrounding menopause, hormone production can be reduced dramatically. These significant changes in hormone production and activity often result in notable dysfunction. One of the areas impacted by these changes is the libido. There are many hormones impacted by menopausal shifts and each has its own influence on libido and sexual function.

Progesterone

Progesterone is a regulatory hormone that maintains estrogenic activity while also providing many benefits including neuro and cardiovascular protection. Ideally, estrogen and progesterone are maintained at the appropriate ratio. When these two hormones become imbalanced serious dysfunction can develop. A decrease in progesterone results in an excess of estrogen or estrogen dominance which can worsen menopausal symptoms and exacerbate libidinal difficulties.

Estrogen

Estrogen is one of the primary female hormones and influences aspects of health ranging from the body’s physical shape to brain function. A decrease in estrogen among women can inhibit libido by causing vaginal dryness and subsequent pain during intercourse. If left unattended, inflammation may develop further contributing to pain. Worse still, a lack of lubrication during intercourse may result in tearing and bleeding of sensitive vaginal tissue. Poor estrogen levels also inhibit blood flow to the genitals, which further inhibits sex drive.

Testosterone

Although testosterone is typically considered a male hormone, it is an important libidinal factor in both sexes. Menopause may trigger a decline in testosterone thereby inhibiting arousal and reducing sensitivity to touch or physical closeness. These factors can contribute to a reduction a loss of libido.

Thyroid Hormones

Menopause may also disrupt thyroid activity. Thyroid imbalances are exceptionally common and are a frequent instigator of low libido among women. As thyroid hormones to drop, overall bodily function declines resulting in symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, depression, and lack of motivation. These issues can contribute to a poor libido as well as dysfunction throughout the body.

Learn more about the connection between thyroid dysfunction and menopause here.

Resolving Menopausal Disruption and Restoring Libido

Most symptoms of menopause will dissipate over time as hormone levels begin to normalize. However, sexual dysfunction and loss of libido is likely to remain if menopause goes untreated. Fortunately, there are multiple approaches to alleviating menopause-related imbalances and restoring libido.

Typically, hormone imbalances, caused by menopause or otherwise, are treated through hormone replacement therapies. Often, the primary goal of menopause treatment is normalization of estrogen and progesterone levels. Therefore, doctors often recommend treatment with synthetic estrogen and progesterone medications. However, studies show that these synthetics increase the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, dementia, blood clots, and breast cancer. Ideally, these treatments are avoided entirely.  But if they must be used, they should be taken for the shortest time possible.

Fortunately, there is a much safer and more effective approach to resolving hormone imbalances triggered by menopause. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT utilizes hormones that are structurally identical to those produced in the human body. These hormones are derived from natural plants and have little to no risk of contributing to future disease or complications. In fact, long term treatment with BHRT is highly recommended because it is associated with factors of wellness and longevity including maintaining bone density, reducing the risk of cancers, protecting against heart disease and stroke, and providing neuroprotection.

Learn more about the differences in HRT and BHRT here.

BHRT is highly beneficial for treating menopause and libido-related dysfunction because it can be customized to suit individual patient needs. Depending on the type of dysfunction, BHRT allows for optimization of specific hormones including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, and others relating to libidinal activity. Improving levels of each hormone can provide significant libidinal support.

Manage Menopause and Revitalize Sex Drive with BHRT

Menopause is unavoidable and affects women in many different ways. One of the most common complaints of those going through menopause is a loss of libido and sexual dysfunction. Fortunately, BHRT allows for effective treatment and optimization of various hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones, which can help alleviate symptoms of menopause including libidinal decline. You can improve your journey through menopause and restore your libido by optimizing hormone levels with BHRT.

At Holtorf Medical Group our physicians are trained to provide you with innovative treatments to provide you with the relief you deserve. In addition to BHRT, Holtorf Medical Group also offers the non-surgical, light-based treatment known as the Mona Lisa Touch which has been shown to
bring long-lasting relief, and boasts of overwhelming positive and immediate results. If you are currently experiencing perimenopause or menopause symptoms, give us a call at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

Resources

1. NAMS Staff. “Decreased Desire.” The North American Menopause Society.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Low sex drive in women.” Mayo Clinic.
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Vaginal atrophy.” Mayo Clinic.
4. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Breast Cancer and BHRT.” Holtorf Medical Group.
5. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Hormone Study Confusion.” Holtorf Medical Group.
6. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Natural (Bio-identical) vs. Synthetic HRT.” Holtorf Medical Group.
7. Kent Holtorf, MD. “The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy?” Postgrad Med. 2009 Jan;121(1):73-85. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2009.01.1949.

The Link Between Menopause and Low Libido (+ What You Can Do About It) was last modified: February 14th, 2019 by Holtorf Medical Group

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