It’s not surprising that both menopause and age can cause changes in sex drive. Have you noticed a change in yours? Worry and confusion about how menopause might impact sex is a pretty common concern for women, especially in midlife.
A groundbreaking study in the April 2017, journal Menopause sheds some light on this important issue.
Nearly 1400 women ages 42 to 52 were followed over 14 years and asked about any changes in their sex drive. These women had their uterus intact and at least one ovary, and were not taking hormones.
In general, things stayed pretty constant for these women until about 20 months before their final menstrual period. That’s when they reported their sexual drive began to decline. And the decline continued each year over the following five years.
An additional group of women who had a hysterectomy (the uterus removed) began to notice changes immediately after their hysterectomy, whether or not their ovaries were removed.
The study revealed different responses according to different populations. Overall, black women noticed the least change, white women noted slightly more and Japanese women reported the greatest decline in sexual function.
This study suggests that when you notice a change in your sexual drive, it might be a clue you are within 20 months of your final menstrual period. And if you are noticing a change is sexual function, it’s important to discuss it with your healthcare provider. Treatments can be offered and other causes can also be investigated.