So, you’re in your 40’s when all of a sudden you start sweating buckets and wanting to strip naked at random times, your period goes wonky and twice as heavy. Maybe you’re a heck of a lot weepier or even having trouble losing weight. Your desire for your partner seemed to go from supercharged to “dead battery.”
Maybe sex has all of a sudden become painful, and to top it off you feel less desirable all the way around. Then all of a sudden it hits you….the big M. And no we don’t mean marriage…we mean that other word….Menopause. Or maybe more specifically, perimenopause if you’re still having a period and menopause if you aren’t. (For the record, until you stop having periods for a year, you’re still in perimenopause).
You finally have your answer, but you’re still not quite where you need to be in the bedroom and your significant other is getting frustrated. There’s a reason they call it “MEN-o-PAUSE” because you don’t have any desire! So, what’s a girl to do?
Here are a few common sense things you can try to alleviate some of your symptoms.
Bitchiness. Let’s face it, everyone has been working your LAST nerve, but aside from that, you’re not really sure why you’re in such a bad mood. The reality is that your bad mood during perimenopause and menopause can be caused by several factors including poor sleep due to night sweats or leg cramps, muscle mass loss and tissue thinning can lead to vaginal dryness making sex seem unappealing. Possible solutions include natural herbs and vitamins to improve your mood or talk to your doctor about antidepressants related to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which may reduce mood swings and also menopausal hot flashes.
Night Sweats. Systemic estrogen therapy — which comes in pill, skin patch, gel or cream form — remains the most effective treatment option for relieving hot flashes and night sweats. Systemic estrogen can also help prevent bone loss. Consider trying natural remedies like black cohosh or
St. John’s Wort, which can help with sweats and depression.
Weight Gain. Not only have you lost your libido, but your weight has also gone up, making you feel less sexy overall. So what can be done? We DO have an answer, but you might not like it. The answer is simple, diet and exercise. We think you need to actively try to exercise more, or if you already work out, try newer types of exercise that focus on shaping, such as Pilates, yoga, or weight training. Watch your diet, eat more fiber such as (flaxseeds Brussels sprouts, avocados and broccoli), drink less soda for caffeine but try coffee and Green Tea, hydrate with tons of water, kick the sugar, but hey… you can have dairy! Since menopause can lead to osteoporosis and bone loss, we say, stock up on that cheese and yogurt without the guilt. You can also try the low carb, paleo, Mediterranean or vegan for dietary options. Also, soy and ginseng can help with alleviating some of these issues.
Vaginal problems When estrogen levels diminish, your vaginal tissues may lose lubrication and elasticity, making intercourse painful. Low estrogen may also leave you more vulnerable to urinary or vaginal infections. So here’s what we say: lube, lube, lube and don’t use condoms that are pre-lubed. Always use your own lube and a dry condom. If OTC lubes aren’t doing the job, you can discuss getting a medication or hormone replacement therapy. Also, to relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal tablet, ring or cream. Another option to help with desire could be DHEA. This natural steroid produced by your adrenal gland is available as a dietary supplement and has been used by some to improve sexual interest.
Bladder problems. Loss of tissue tone may contribute to urinary incontinence. Well, isn’t peeing yourself just SUPER FUN! I don’t know about you, but laughing at a co-workers joke and feeling that bit of pee falls into my undies is beyond frustrating when it seemingly happens on an everyday basis. Admittedly there was a period of time where I just wore a tampon every day, which eliminated my issue, but when I began getting more yeast infections, I just gave it up and went to a urologist.
If you address the above common problems such as weight gain, energy from lack of sleep or exercise or improper diet, and painful intercourse from vaginal dryness, your sex life will improve. And if it doesn’t consider seeing your OB-GYN about hormone replacement therapy.
All these symptoms might seem pretty troubling to you, so when should you actually be worried that things aren’t OK? We urge you to see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms that go beyond ordinary menopausal symptoms
- If your bleeding is extremely heavy. By heavy, we mean you’re changing tampons or pads every hour or two for more than 2 hours
- If your bleeding lasts longer than seven days
- If bleeding occurs between period or if periods regularly occur less than 21 days apart