menopause myth busters: the sexless vagina

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One of the things that prompted me to write a book on perimenopause and menopause was how many hours I spent searching for information during my own menopausal journey. I was like a sponge trying to soak up every bit of knowledge I could find, and I really wanted someone to take the mystery out of it for me, but all the medical jargon just confused me even more.

So here is the Menopause Myth Busters – straight talk about perimenopause and menopause!  Let’s start with a common question:

“How come women going through menopause don’t want sex?”


Unlike being drenched from a hot flash, this particular symptom of menopause can feel a little more private, a little more personal, and that makes it harder for some women to talk about. It’s the mystery of what’s happening to my sex life.  I title my own experience,”Sex in the Desert”!   My once tropical island of a libido turned into the equivalent of the Mojave Desert. I’d scrub the floors, clean the closets, and do just about anything else to avoid going to bed. And let’s face it, my libido wasn’t the only thing that felt dry. I began to wonder if what I was the only menopausal women going through this. I decided to asked around. Not surprisingly, at first, most of the women I talked to didn’t want to admit their sex life was taking a nosedive. As women we’re often focused on being “fine” all the time, and not wanting sex means suddenly there’s something wrong. In the beginning, I was even embarrassed to talk about it with my doctor!

Here’s the truth. You are not turning into a sexless shell of our former self! You don’t need to consider spending the rest of your life in a nunnery! Almost every woman I spoke with went through the desert period at some point during perimenopause or menopause. Even if it’s not “fine”, it’s not unnatural.

So why is your libido dropping? It’s your hormones. If you recognize what’s happening to your body and know why, you can work toward getting back to your island paradise.

Every 28 days or so, the premenopausal vagina  starts doing some redecorating. It fluffs up the pillows in the womb, releases the most attractive egg it has, and starts surging hormones through the body. Cue the biological bow-chicka-bow-wow music. Women going through perimenopause and menopause don’t get that same monthly reminder from Mother Nature to “get some.” The bow-chicka-bow-wow music stops and you didn’t even get a last dance. On top of that, most experience a drop in the level of their estrogen hormone across the board, which can cause their shmirshky’s natural state to become Mojave-like.

The great news is that there is help. Having your doctor check your hormone levels is one of best things you can do if you feel like you’re wandering through the desert. Even if you have had a test done recently, these levels can shift at any time during perimenopause or menopause. Low testosterone is often responsible for libido drop, while low estrogen can contribute to dryness. Talk to your doctor about your options. If you are on hormone therapy, you might need an adjustment in your dosage.  HRT, LET (local estrogen therapy), moisturizer and lubes, can send you right back to the beach. Talk to your menopause specialist and get the help you need an deserve!

Remember:  Suffering silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN!

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After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

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