Loss of Libido After Menopause

Hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, and changes in mood are symptoms of menopause that many women are aware of. A drop in sexual desire, which can be due to both physical and psychological factors, is another. It doesn't happen to every woman (some actually see an increase in their libido during this time), but it can have a significant impact on those who do experience it.

Like any transition, adjusting to menopause can take time. Luckily, there are some proactive steps you can take to address low libido and resume an active sex life if you desire.

pain after sex
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How Menopause Affects Sex Drive

The loss of estrogen that comes during and after menopause is the main physical driver behind a drop in sexual desire. But women may also lose interest in sex or have a difficult time becoming aroused because of hot flashes, weight gain, fatigue, and emotional changes. Symptoms such as vaginal dryness can also contribute to pain and problems with sexual function.

Every woman will have her own unique set of responses to menopause. The good news, however, is that post-menopausal women respond to sexual cues similarly to pre-menopausal women; they are also more likely than pre-menopausal women to respond to love and emotional bonding cues from their partners.

In other words, not only can they respond sexually, they do respond sexually, much as they did before menopause.

Who's Most Likely to Have a Drop in Libido?

For many women, menopause does not mean a loss of sexual response. That said, it may be more likely if you:

Treatment Options

Unfortunately, there are no medications that are FDA-approved to treat low libido in post-menopausal women. However, after discussing your individual situation with your healthcare provider, they can help you determine if receiving estrogen or testosterone through off-label hormone therapy may be a solution for you.

There are also various products available that can help to make sex more enjoyable if you've been experiencing dryness and other discomfort. These include over-the-counter vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, as well as an FDA-approved clitoral therapy device that can help to increase lubrication and the ability to achieve orgasm. While these options won't increase your drive, they may make the idea of having sex more appealing if you've been avoiding it due to your symptoms.

Remember, though, that it's not just hormones that can play a role in a decrease of sexual desire. Various emotional factors can contribute to it as well. As such, your healthcare provider may recommend you visit a sex therapist or attend couples' counseling in an effort to communicate with your partner about how to increase intimacy and feelings of desire. You may find that planning a romantic evening, talking about things that arouse you, or viewing erotic materials together will help spark the mood faster than other interventions.

A Word From Verywell

You deserve to have a healthy sex life and a thriving relationship during menopause and beyond. If you notice a drop in libido and it’s distressing to you, talk to your medical provider. Together you can explore the possible causes and discuss all the possible treatments.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Thornton K, Chervenak J, Neal-perry G. Menopause and sexuality. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2015;44(3):649-61. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2015.05.009

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Additional Reading

By Kate Bracy, RN, NP
Kate Bracy, RN, MS, NP, is a registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner who specializes in women's health and family planning.