There can be many reasons why intimacy begins to subside in a relationship. One key factor, which is out of your control is the menopause. Menopausal symptoms can affect women in so many ways and can often be very detrimental to relationships.
It’s not just women who suffer in this department men do too. It is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones and unfortunately, this comes to us all with age.
The menopause doesn’t begin at a particular age or last for a definite and fixed period of time and the symptoms can vary from woman to woman. In the UK the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51 but a woman can start to experience natural menopausal symptoms between the ages of 45 and 55 as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline.
For some who are fortunate, the menopause can pass with no problems but for many others, the time can be very unsettling and for some women, the menopause and its symptoms can be incredibly difficult to manage. They can impact on your everyday activities, relationships and particularly in the workplace. In extreme cases, you may even decide to give up your employment rather than continue to struggle in an environment that is unsupportive or lacking understanding of your needs at this particular point in your life.
Common symptoms include:
Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex
Reduced sex drive (libido) – Visit ReGainfor advice on additional intimacy issues.
Low mood or anxiety
Problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
It’s not just women who suffer in this department men do too and unfortunately, this comes to us all with age.
The Female Menopause
The Three Stages of Menopause:
Peri-menopause – this is the time when a woman’s periods become less frequent until they stop altogether, for most women the peri-menopause can last for several years (the average is four but it can last for up to ten years), however for a few women periods may stop suddenly rather than decreasing over time – for these latter women symptoms can be worse. During perimenopause, the reducing levels of the hormone oestrogen can cause physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness.
Menopause – the last menstrual period – The menopausal period is the point in a woman’s life when her periods become more irregular and infrequent and then eventually stop.
For many women, the menopause occurs as they age and the ovaries naturally fail and stop producing the hormones oestrogen and progesterone; for others, the ovaries fail due to specific treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy or when the ovaries are removed, often at the time of a hysterectomy.
Post-menopause – the time following the last period, usually defined as more than 12 months with no periods in someone who has their ovaries or immediately following surgery if the ovaries are removed.
The Male Menopause
The male menopause involves a drop-in testosterone production in men who are age 50 or older. It’s often affiliated with hypogonadism. Both conditions involve lowered testosterone levels and similar symptoms. For many men, the symptoms are manageable, even without treatment.
If you’re a man, testosterone is a hormone produced in your testes. It does more than fuel your sex drive. It also fuels changes during puberty, fuels your mental and physical energy, maintains your muscle mass, regulates your fight-or-flight response, and regulates other key evolutionary features.
Male menopause differs from female menopause in several ways. For one thing, not all men experience it. For another, it doesn’t involve a complete shutdown of your reproductive organs. However, sexual complications may arise as a result of your lowered hormone levels.