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What is the difference between perimenopause and the menopause? How do you avoid weight gain? Does the menopause magnet work? And ye gods, tell us how to get a good night's sleep! Luckily Gransnet has put together the most useful tips for navigating those muddy menopausal waters. Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns do consult your GP.

Sex after menopause

(49 Posts)
timeistight Wed 07-Feb-18 16:44:39

I was gobsmacked to hear on Woman’s Hour recently that 90% of post-menopausal women are apparently enjoying an active and satisfying sex life.

I had my menopause at 58 after 18 years of peri and all sorts of symptoms including irregular bleeding, flooding, bleeding for a year solid at one point, being told by the GP all through that this was ‘normal for menopause’ etc. I am now 62.

My libido went west about fifteen years ago. Since then I have absolutely no interest, and also no sensation. You can touch me and I don’t feel a thing.

The GP gave me oestrogen pessaries about 18 months ago, so I can actually have sex now, but I just don’t see the point. However, DH is increasingly impatient, so I clearly need to do something.

I’ve done some reading and it looks as if I am too old for HRT, which has never been suggested to me anyway.

Where do I go for advice please?

Leilaniiii Wed 07-Feb-18 16:51:55

Why are you too old for HRT? I thought it was good for preventing osteoporosis and some cancers. Isn’t there a new way of thinking that HRT has many benefits after menopause? Or is that just my theory...

timeistight Wed 07-Feb-18 18:03:10

I don't know. From what I've read I got the impression HRT was for easing us through menopause, to be weaned off it afterwards.

PollyPerky Wed 07-Feb-18 18:57:49

You can start HRT in your 60s and stay on it. I'm your age and on it. I have no intention of stopping unless there is a medical reason to.

However, the thinking now is that libido responds to testosterone. Many women I know of ( via forums) use it. It's not licensed for women but your GP may allow you to use it and if not you ought to be able to get it from a consultant, privately. The use of testo for women's libido is in the NICE guidelines so it's not a wacky idea out of nowhere. If you google it there are some articles online mainly in the Daily Mail.

Having said that, you ought not to feel pressurised into having sex with anyone, by anyone. Surveys aren't always accurate- many people exaggerate their sex lives when asked about it!

The question is, do you want sex, or are you only giving in to your husband/s wants? There is no rule that you have to say yes to anyone! It's what you want that counts. If you want that intimacy, then seek out treatment. If you don't, maybe you need an honest talk with your DH and a discussion about your future together?

Leilaniiii Wed 07-Feb-18 19:05:15

Great post Polly, I’ve also heard that about testosterone.

timeistight Wed 07-Feb-18 19:41:58

Thanks Polly. I think I would like to. It's been so long that it's kinda difficult to tell.

That's useful information though. Thank you.

Leilaniiii Wed 07-Feb-18 22:12:34

Polly, may I ask, do you take testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone? And can I ask how much you pay?

Sorry to be nosy.

Namethecat Wed 07-Feb-18 22:26:43

The females in my family have very early menopauses ( I was 39 ) Thankfully my symptoms were fairly ok and I got through it quite lightly . I briefly tried HRT but it was at a time when they were quoting in the media about cancer risk et c . Sadly that is also in the family so I came off it ( probably less than 6 months ) I'm now in my mid 50s so over 15 years post menopause, but I am still sexually active. For me lube is my (our) friend .

PollyPerky Wed 07-Feb-18 22:37:44

I don't use testosterone, no.

Are you asking how much HRT is privately? It's the RRP per item; gel is around £10 a month and Utrogestan is 50p a day so multiply that by days taken per cycle. In total I pay around £15 a month which is pretty much the same as an NHS script.

Leilaniiii Thu 08-Feb-18 01:37:07

Wow, that’s cheap! I’ve been put off going to the doctors because I thought it would be really expensive.

PollyPerky Thu 08-Feb-18 07:35:00

If you are in the UK you will get HRT on the NHS from your GP. Unless you see a consultant privately in which case your HRT is paid for by you (or they can write to your GP and ask them to prescribe on the NHS.)
If you see a consultant privately you also need to factor in a couple of reviews / check ups with them each year.

are you in the UK?

Leilaniiii Thu 08-Feb-18 10:15:12

No, I'm in Asia. But private doctors are around the same price here as in the UK.

PollyPerky Thu 08-Feb-18 14:54:50

OP sorry your post has got derailed here.

Leilaniiii I hope I' m not confusing you smile
The costs I quoted are for the actual drugs. This may vary from country to country. On top of those costs are consultations at least once a year for a review with the consultant who prescribes them, so in the UK we pay for the consultant's fee (unless it's an NHS dr.)

Leilaniiii Thu 08-Feb-18 22:10:32

Yes, sorry OP for the hijack.

timeistight Thu 12-Jul-18 11:30:08

So I went to the GP this morning, explained that after two years of Vagifem I can physically have sex again, but it is not properly comfortable, no libido, thinning hair issues, poor sleep etc etc.

I asked about a referral to a Menopause Clinic, but there isn't one in our area, so that was refused. I asked about HRT and was told it is not possible to start HRT once you are past menopause. She is going to write to Gynaecology to see what else they can suggest for me, but doesn't expect a positive response.

All she can suggest is that I use the Vagifem more often, so she is also going to ask Gynaecology if that's OK to do.

Banging my head against a brick wall.

QueenoftheNights Thu 12-Jul-18 11:59:00

You can start HRT up to 10 years after your last period so if you stopped at 58 there is still time.

I'm afraid your best option is to pay to see a private menopause gynaecologist. There is no way I'd want the average GP to manage my hormones- they are not experts and , worse they are not up to date with basic education on menopause.

You can use Vagifem more often- use it every day if need be. If it's the 10mgs sort, that;s the only type given now- it used to be 25mgs so women are having to use more of the lower dose.

You may also need testosterone for libido- have a read online about this. The NHS is pretty useless for meno issues - with some exceptions- so do your own research and if you can, get sorted with a dr who knows what's what.

timeistight Thu 12-Jul-18 13:15:59

I wasn't suggesting that I let a GP do this job. I was hoping for a referral, but apparently there is nowhere to refer me to, but if I can self-refer to someone private, then that would be great.

I don't suppose anyone has any suggestions?

QueenoftheNights Thu 12-Jul-18 15:26:23

The thing is if your Gp was up to speed you'd not need a referral at all. VA is very common. The treatment is what you have got but more of it. If you have other symptoms (flushes, sweats, mood swings etc) they might offer you systemic HRT. If your symptoms are 'only' vaginal then they may not (these are the guidelines.) why not use Vagifem more often and see how that goes? Not sure if you are asking for treatment for your libido as well - that's a hard one because testotserone works for some women as does estrogen but it's trial and error. re. self referring- where do you live?

timeistight Thu 12-Jul-18 18:34:14

West Midlands.

essex42 Thu 12-Jul-18 19:03:46

I just dont believe that 90% of post menopausal women have an active sex life. I am 61 and a couple of years in. I was lucky enough not to have to many problems but like the OP I completely lost my libido and suffered extreme dryness which pretty much stopped our sex life. I find/found this really upsetting as we always had a brilliant sex life and -beware tmu - I used to enjoy multiple orgasms. I had a few fruitless talks with doctors who basically told me that HRT wouldn't change that and i got the feeling they thought i was a bit daft for being concerned about it. I tried a few different ones and the one i am on now Femiston Conti make me feel more like my old self and I am not so dry but they dont do anything for the libido. We now use Sylk lubricant which is excellent but i can only climax internally now. The outer bits seem to have given up the ghost. confused so sex is ok but not something I care about any more which is a shame. This is not a subject that anyone talks to friends about but the few i have broached this with all have the same problem and have either given up sex completely or it is very much reserved for high days and holidays. The moral is enjoy it when you can.

QueenoftheNights Thu 12-Jul-18 19:13:21

menopausedoctor.co.uk/clinic-and-appointments/ Solihull

QueenoftheNights Thu 12-Jul-18 19:21:05

I just dont believe that 90% of post menopausal women have an active sex life. I am 61 and a couple of years in.

The average age for menopause is 51 so it's quite likely that most women of 51 and a bit are still having sex!

We now use Sylk lubricant which is excellent but i can only climax internally now.

Count yourself lucky because 75% of all women never have an orgasm through penetration in their lives (and that includes me!)

Why aren't you using vaginal estrogen as well as Femoston? Sylk doesn't actually make changes to the vaginal walls. The other thing, is that oral HRT and especially the combined / conti type can reduce libido. Looks like there are still plenty of things you can do to change your current state if you want to.

Bishybarnybee Thu 12-Jul-18 19:26:27

Just wondering, how do you feel about your partner?

And how do you feel about your own level of attractiveness?

And how do you feel about your life generally - fun, challenge, feeling useful, feeling connected to others?

All of those are areas where satisfaction can plummet in middle age leaving us feeling anything but desirable or desiring.

Sex is about so much more than the mechanics ......

timeistight Thu 12-Jul-18 19:34:00

As a couple we are affectionate, laugh a lot, but have been under a hideous amount of pressure for years through the stuff that life throws at us (bullying at work, health
problems, death of a parent, parent with dementia).

It would be nice to make the connection.

timeistight Thu 12-Jul-18 19:35:47

Why don't we have an edit button. Live in a village, part of the community, lots of social interactions, interests etc. Not ready to give up yet. Just want to have decent sex with DH and a full head of hair.

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