Menopause Guide: Dr. Marie Savard Answers Your Questions

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Menopause and Sex Drive Questions

Chris from Fla., asked: My wife has been going through menopause for a couple years now and as a husband I do have a question or two. She is also suffering from severe bone loss due to the menopause. With all these problems, sex between us has come to a complete stop. I have tried to be a completely understanding husband of 39 years, but is there anything I can do to make life a bit easier? I truly love her and intend to remain a completely loyal and understanding husband. Is there anything I can do? Pleasse advise and thank you in advance!

Savard answered: Not that it helps to say this, but you are not alone. I would first recommend that your wife have a good working relationship with a practitioner who can help her diagnose and treat all the potential medical problems she is having -- including giving her a low dose of vaginal or patch estrogen if she can safely take it. On the other hand, there are so many reasons why women have a reduced interest in sex at menopause that I hesitate to suggest that estrogen alone will solve the problem. Estrogen does not improve the libido. Sometimes stress, lack of sleep, worry about all sorts of things can make matter worse. Perhaps once she has had any possible medical things treated (including any depression, thyroid disease, dry vaginal tissues, etc.) -- perhaps you can both ask her physician to refer you to a kind sex therapist. They can be of tremendous help.

Paula asked: I'm 58 years old and going through menopause. My main concern is I have little or no libido. Can hormone replacement help? Is there anything that can help with this problem. My husband would so appreciate your help. Thank you.

Savard answered:I will answer you as I have answered previously: Not that it helps to say this, but you are not alone. I would first recommend that you have a good working relationship with a practitioner who can help you diagnose and treat any potential medical problem you may be having, including trying a low dose of vaginal or patch estrogen if you can safely take it. On the other hand, there are so many reasons why women have a reduced interest in sex at menopause that I hesitate to suggest that estrogen alone will solve the problem. Estrogen does not improve the libido. It is testosterone, which also goes down by 50 percent at menopause, that is important for libido. Typical hormone replacement does not include testosterone although there is one prescription that does. "Bioidentical" hormones often have testosterone as part of the mix, but you need to find a special physician to prescribe and I am not totally convinced of the long term safety of the hormones with added testosterone. Studies have shown in women that testosterone patch can help but there are safety concerns including possible increased breast cancer risk. Sometimes stress, lack of sleep, worry about all sorts of things can make matter worse. Perhaps once you have any possible medical things treated (including any depression, thyroid disease, dry vaginal tissues, etc.) -- perhaps you can your physician to refer you to a kind sex therapist. They can often be of tremendous help.

CLICK HERE to read an excerpt from Dr. Marie Savard's new book, "Ask Dr. Marie: Straight Talk and Reassuring Answers to Your Most Private Questions."

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