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Menopause and Libido: All is not lost!

by | Apr 24, 2022 | Moving Through Menopause Podcast, Podcasts

As ladies of a certain age, we are living with a bit less of those reproductive hormones and that can make life a little bit challenging on occasion. There’s no doubt that the hormonal shifts of menopause can interfere with our libido.

You may have boisterous teenagers banging about the house or have caring responsibilities for older family add to this work demands and the stresses of our modern lives and you find yourself in the middle of a perfect storm.

Join us for some moral support, hints, tips and a few giggles.

 

or listen to us while you take a bubble bath!

A passing phase

It is worth remembering that the hormonal fluctuations of Perimenopause will pass. The length of time it lasts varies averaging around 5 to 8 years. It can be a rocky road as we traverse that transition, and it can take its toll on us and our nearest and dearest. Claire endured a surgical menopause and was catapulted into menopause overnight!  She admitted that her libido deserted her “I didn’t want to have sex, I didn’t really want to be touched. I think that that was a combination of things; my irritability levels were quite high and feeling annoyed certainly didn’t put me in the mood!”

The effects of oestrogen loss on our intimate areas include thinning, fragile skin, and reduced lubrication. Claire admitted “I felt like I aged overnight, and it was a difficult time, but it was a phase and I’ve come out the other side”

The good news is there are lots of things you can do!

  1. Consider lubrication with natural ingredients that moisturise and condition the skin. Checkout my podcast with Lavinia Winch Ambassador for Yes; the organic intimacy company provides further information on this topic.
  2. If you need help to get in the mood, feel less frustrated and irritated essential oils could help. Ylang Ylang is a good place to begin. Its properties include aphrodisiac, antidepressant, euphoric (I like the sound of that, sedative for the nervous system and a stimulant for the circulation. Essential oils can be applied diluted in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil for massage into the skin or in an essential oil diffuser around the house.
  3. Pelvic floor muscle training or can be very beneficial to improve the tone of skin and muscle and bringing the blood flow into the area. The muscles of the pelvic floor can respond to training and these exercises can in turn improve our intimate experiences

How do I tackle pelvic floor exercises?

What would you do if you didn’t want to pass wind in public? You could try playing the tampon tug of war or imagine stopping the flow of urine. Try to squeeze and lift around the individual openings and then do them all together. Practice 10 x 10 second holds and do that around three times a day. You could also try 10 x 1 second contractions; think of a clock ticking. This combination of longer sustained holds and shorter holds repeated throughout the course of each day can enhance the blood flow and improve the resilience of the tissues, lubrication, and your enjoyment thereafter.

These exercises are important for men and women and the NHS squeezy app can give timely reminders or even just an association with brushing your teeth or switching the kettle on for a cup of tea.

Remember when you are doing these exercises right you are not squeezing the muscles of the inner thighs. Try them at your desk, in the car, standing at the bus stop or in the supermarket queue!  If you are in any doubt, seek out some specialist advice from a Women’s Health physiotherapist.

Managing your mental health

It is important to focus on yourself during this time. Nurture yourself and to forgive yourself if you ‘lose your rag’ with your nearest and dearest. 25% of women will suffer severe symptoms with a whole plethora of undesirable things happening to you that undermine your confidence. Treat yourself to a massage, a bubble bath, or girl time and forgive yourself for your shortcomings.

Communication is key

Your partner is unlikely to understand what is going on and why. But if they can understand with what’s going on with your body and your mind and support you. Be clear in your communication, use ‘I’ statements and save conversations for a time when you feel calm.

Get imaginative

Find other ways to bring about intimacy, holding hands, cooking a nice meal together, ask for a foot rub to nurture your connection. Remember this is not the death of that part of your relationship, it’s a hiatus and you can connect in other ways in the short term.

Plan for the future

There is nothing so certain as change! So be kind to yourself, know this too will pass and keep communicating with one another and connecting in new and more imaginative ways. Make a plan together for a future full of possibilities.

Contributors

Phillipa Butler: Chartered Physiotherapist, Certified Pilates Teacher, Yoga and Meditation Teacher
Tamar Challis: Person centred counsellor, coach and mediator specialising in women’s mental health as they move through life transitions such as menopause, divorce, retirement.
Claire Ottewell: Aromatherapist and Medical Astrologer

Disclaimer: Please note that any advice we provide in this podcast is for information only, and if you are unsure of its suitability for your specific circumstances, you should consult your medical practitioner if you have any specific health concerns.

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Pilates for Menopause for Massage Therapists and Manual Therapists  - NAT Diploma Course with Precizion 10 CEUs

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Interested to learn Pilates or Yoga?

Join Precizion for regular online Pilates and Yoga classes.  All led by Phillipa Butler, a Chartered Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates and Women’s Health Expert. One-on-one consultations also available.

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