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How does perimenopause affect my sexuality?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The effect perimenopause has on your ability and willingness to have sex is complex because there are so many physical and mental factors that go into a healthy sex life.

On the physical side, lost estrogen can cause your vagina to become dry and thin and that makes sexual intercourse painful. Hot flashes and night sweats can impact your sleep, and when you are fatigued and sleep deprived, it hardly puts you in the mood. The aging process, outside of perimenopause, can also play a role. Some women become depressed or feel less attractive as they get older, which can affect sexuality. However, there is no reason with proper treatments and the right mindset that you shouldn’t be able to have a healthy sex life into your later years.

Perimenopause can cause your vagina to become dry, which can make sex more painful. Your breasts may also become more tender, which can be uncomfortable when they are touched. You may experience vaginal bleeding after sex. Your interest in sex may decrease. During menopause, a woman's body starts making less of the hormone estrogen, which causes these symptoms.

Some women find that the appeal of sex (their libido) declines as they go through perimenopause. In some cases, this is because vaginal dryness makes intercourse uncomfortable. In mild cases of vaginal dryness, water-based lubricants can be very helpful. In more severe cases, hormonal treatment can help relieve the dryness and discomfort.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.