The loss of estrogen following menopause can lead to changes in a woman’s sexual functioning. Menopausal women may notice that they are not as easily aroused, and may be less sensitive to touching and stroking, which can result in decreased interest in sex. Further, the emotional changes that often accompany menopause can add to a woman’s loss of interest in sex and/or inability to become aroused.
In addition, lower levels of estrogen can cause a decrease in blood supply to the vagina. This decreased blood flow can affect vaginal lubrication, causing the vagina to be thin, pale, and dry. The lower one-third of the vagina can shrink, leading to painful sexual intercourse.
A lower estrogen level is not the only culprit behind a decreased libido; there are numerous other factors that may influence a woman’s interest in sexual activity during menopause and after. These include:
- Bladder control problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Depression or anxiety
- Health concerns
- Relationship issues with a partner