A woman's transition to menopause involves more than physical changes. While you may feel discomfort and, in the case of vaginal dryness, even pain, there are other ways that menopause can affect your well-being. Changes in sleep patterns, mood, memory, and concentration can affect your daily life and take a toll on your relationships with others.
As you experience physical and emotional differences, your feelings about sexual intimacy might also be affected. You might feel less interested in sex or your sexual response could change, especially if you are experiencing vaginal dryness. Modest weight gain, especially around the waist, is also common among women of perimenopausal age, and that may make you feel less attractive or sexy.
It's important to keep in mind that the end of menstruation doesn't mean the end of sexuality! Sex can be rich and fulfilling well into your senior years. During perimenopause, however, your feelings and physical changes could affect your relationship with your partner, who may not understand or be aware of what you're experiencing, or may worry that he will hurt you during intercourse.
To maintain a healthy sex life and avoid any misunderstandings, it's worthwhile to initiate a discussion with your partner about your feelings and menopause-related symptoms and how they might affect your sex life. Good communication is essential. You (and your partner) may feel embarrassed or awkward at first, but together, you can find solutions; for example, longer foreplay, talking about medical therapies for menopause symptoms, and exploring new ways to be intimate and feel close to each other, such as sensual massage. Regular intercourse can also help your body feel more comfortable.
If you have a new partner, practise safe sex - contracting a sexually transmitted disease is still a concern. You should also use birth control. Even though fertility is lower during perimenopause, you could still become pregnant, unless you haven't had a period in 12 months.
If you have an open mind and communicate clearly and regularly with your partner, you can keep intimacy passionate and fulfilling. You can also speak to your doctor about what you can do to help get your sex life back on track. Again, be honest. Tell your doctor your concerns so that she can help you make the best choices.
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