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Valentines, Hormones & Sex (Oh My!)

Posted Feb 14 2013 12:00am

February is the month of love, and if our spouses and significant others play their cards right (read: flowers, jewelry, chocolate, and dinner), it can also be the month of great sex – or not, if you’re a woman going through perimenopause .

It’s a very distressing fact for many women that when they begin to enter perimenopause, their libido begins to wane.  For some, it is considerable.

I recall becoming quite panic-stricken when I began going through perimenopause at the age of 41, expecting that what had long been a very satisfying, and dare I say, quite hot sex life, was about to come to a screeching halt.

I just couldn’t bear the thought.

Fortunately for me, I never experienced a serious loss of libido during perimenopause , at least, not long term.  Vaginal dryness and atrophy have never been an issue for me either. But that’s not the case for many women.

Approximately 50% of women going through perimenopause complain of loss of libido, and suffer with vaginal dryness and atrophy. So, though it may not be the most romantic topic to discuss, with half of us suffering with these issues, we really need to be talking about it.

The short answer is hormone imbalance. Like every other symptom of perimenopause , loss of libido is due to hormone imbalance.  Low progesterone levels are generally the primary culprit when it comes to lagging sexual desire. But low estrogen levels are also part of the problem as well.

Without enough estrogen, vaginal tissue becomes dry , vaginal walls become thin, and quite frankly, sexual intercourse becomes downright painful. Waning testosterone levels during perimenopause (yes, women have testosterone too!) can also make sexual response and orgasm difficult.

But, as we all know, great sex for women is far more than just the physical response. If we are tired, stressed, feeling emotionally down or depressed – as so many women are during perimenopause – sex is the last thing we’re thinking about.  So what’s a girl to do?

Assuming that all women have the same hormonal needs is like assuming all women like red lingerie

Well, the obvious answer to loss of libido, vaginal dryness and atrophy due to hormone imbalance in perimenopause, is to balance your hormones!  But it’s also important to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.

What’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. Assuming that all women have the same hormonal needs, is like assuming that all women like red lingerie.  We don’t. Some of us like black.

It’s important to find the right physician ¹ who will take the time to assess your individual needs, and design a personalized hormone replacement therapy program just for you, rather than popping a few standardized dose pills and hoping for the best.

Bioidentical hormones (hormones which are identical to those which your body naturally produces), are also a far better choice when addressing hormone imbalance, compared to synthetic hormones (hormones which are not identical to those which your body naturally produces) which tend to work against your body rather than with it.

And remember, ladies, perimenopause is a transition. It’s not a forever experience.  With a little time, a little patience, and the right hormone therapy program, you can get your sexual mojo back.

Of course, a little chocolate, romance, and jewelry doesn’t hurt either!


¹ Dr. Paul Savage MD FACEP  is an acknowledged expert in the field of bioidentical hormones, anti-aging and regenerative medicine and metabolic medicine and is nationally known and recognized as a leader in this field. Dr. Savage is board-certified by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) as well as a Fellow of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He has been practicing anti-aging medicine as his solo specialty since 2002. His goal of regaining and maintaining optimum health for his patients as the best method of preventing disease is well-established.

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