Sadly, there’s still a woeful lack of useful information for women navigating the perimenopause and menopause, especially when it comes to sex.
Dr Narendra Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology, Dr Shirin Lakhani of Elite Aesthetics and Dr Shazia Malik, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at The Portland Hospital recently spoke to Net Doctor about all things sex and menopause.
In particular, they pointed out three practical – and very important – sexual health-related facts that all women need to know about menopause.
The first is the importance of contraception. Lakhani said that whether you’re going through the perimenopause or menopause, you should carry on taking contraception until you haven’t had a period for one year. This is because you can still be fertile while having periods, even if they are irregular.
Secondly, as Pisal points out, STIs pose a bigger risk post-menopause. ‘Natural protection is weaker and the risk of transmission is higher after menopause, so it’s more important than ever to use condoms and dental dams,’ she told Net Doctor.
It’s also important to note that a lower libido is completely normal because of hormonal changes (lower oestrogen and testosterone).
‘If this is something that is bothering you or your partner, it is worth going to see the doctor who may be able to discuss other options that could help to increase your sex drive, such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). However, if you and your partner are happy not to have sex this is, of course, fine too,’ Dr Malik explained.