Low libido can be one of the most difficult symptoms of menopause to manage, often because a woman might not understand how and why she has lost the desire to be physically intimate with her partner. It is important to recognize that loss of libido during menopause is common, affecting as many as 20 to 40% of women.
Learning more about loss of libido, its myriad causes, and how it can be managed, can not only bring a woman peace of mind, but is the first step towards resolving this complex symptom of menopause.
Low libido during menopause
Low libido is a complex phenomenon with psychological, relational, physical, and hormonal dimensions as unique as the women who experience them.
The term libido has long been used to describe a person’s sexual drive and their desire for sex. Loss of libido, medically termed “hypoactive sexual desire disorder”, is a reduction or lack of interest and desire in sexual activity.
Loss of libido is chiefly characterized by a lack of interest or desire for sexual activity. Many women with loss of libido find that they are less in touch with their sexuality. Sexual feelings and desires come less frequently, and energy for sex drastically dwindles or disappears from a woman’s life.
While loss of libido differs from the inability to become aroused or achieve orgasm, menopausal women may also experience these symptoms of sexual dysfunction. Other symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness and irritation, can also be related to the symptoms of a loss of libido.
What causes low libido during menopause?
Like many menopausal symptoms, the primary cause of loss of libido has its roots in hormonal imbalance. However, physical, psychological, and relationship issues can affect the libido during menopause as well.
Hormonal causes of loss of libido
During menopause, one of the most common identifiable causes of loss of libido is hormonal imbalance. Reductions in the levels of three major hormones can contribute to the reduction of sexual drive and energy.
Estrogen plays a vital role in female sexuality by increasing sensations, assisting in the production of vaginal lubrication, and maintaining the health of vaginal tissue.
As a woman approaches menopause, her body begins to produce less estrogen. This can cause a host of symptoms that can contribute to a woman’s loss of libido, such as hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, and vaginal dryness.
Progesterone hormones are also integral to maintaining sexual health. When levels become too low during menopause, the resulting irregular periods, fatigue and other menopause symptoms can cause loss of libido.
As with estrogen, the body begins to produce lower levels of androgens (e.g. testosterone) with age. Experts believe that this drop in androgens can also cause women to experience loss of libido around the time of menopause.
While hormonal change is often a major cause of loss of libido during menopause, other factors can also contribute to a woman’s loss of libido. Read on to learn about these other potential causes.
Other causes of loss of libido
In addition to hormonal causes of loss of libido, several other factors can lead to this common menopausal symptom. It’s important to speak with your healthcare professional about which factors may be contributing to your symptoms.