Sexual desire’s done — what can she do?
Submitted by: Marc C. Gittelman, M.D.
Submitted on: January 17, 2006
Q: I am 52 and I have lost all feelings when it comes to sex. I’ve been married for 28 years and we love each other, but I don’t feel anything anymore. I had a partial hysterectomy eight years ago. Until about a year ago everything was OK. Now I’m confused because I still want to have sex, but it hurts so much and I can’t climax. Vaginal dryness and low libido are my problems. My doctor has prescribed estrogen hormones but I don’t feel safe using them. Is there an alternative? I want to feel normal again.
A: Sometimes sexual response problems are emotional, psychological or due to relationship problems. Other times they are physical or medical. In your case it seems fairly straightforward that your hormonal changes have thrown your body into a situation that is not allowing you to respond sexually as you did in the past.
Most women need estrogen and testosterone to have a normal sexual desire, lubrication, arousal and orgasm. After menopause or a complete hysterectomy, a woman’s body faces a sudden downturn in these important hormones. Women may experience the classic hot flashes and mood changes at this time when their hormones send their bodies and psyches into a whirlwind. It is also a time of potential sexual changes, and changes of weight, muscles and bones.
Although some recent studies show that not every woman should be on hormone replacement, there is still very strong evidence that many women can be helped with the use of hormone replacement. It is certainly worth exploring the positives and negatives of being on hormones and the best person to have this discussion with is a board certified gynecologist. Some even specialize in dealing with hormone and menopausal issues. A certified nutrition specialist could also be helpful in exploring other methods of watching and balancing your hormones.
The most important thing for you to recognize is that there is an excellent chance that you can help your sexual situation by putting your fears aside and making an appointment with your doctor to explore all possible options. Go for it!