Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Menopause - how it impacts your health, your sexuality, and your life in general.
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MyWifesMan
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Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby MyWifesMan » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:20 pm

As with my own DW, I'm guessing that many of the ladies here also developed a much lower libido and reduced natural lubrication challenges after menopause.

Questions for DWs:

1) If your libido and natural lubrication greatly diminished after menopause, did either return to its pre-menopause state? And, IF so, how long did this take (for either)?

2) And IF you were able to recover your libido level and your natural lubrication, what things did you do to facilitate this?

3) And, related to #2, did you successfully discover any medications or supplements that helped either your libido or NATURAL lubrication (not asking about lubes)?

Thanks.

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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby robin » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:53 pm

There are vaginal estrogen supplements that help with lubrication. I tried one but it burned so now we just use artificial lube and have done with it. My doctor says there are more gentle ones, but given that I have pcos (even without ovaries, doctor says it's a syndrome) I stay away from the hrt now days since they make me gain weight and can give me headaches.

I went through menopause (surgically) at 23. Since I was so young when I lost my ovaries my adrenal glands kind of took over and my libido wasn't affected. Actually I have a really high testosterone level and I'm not complaining. My estrogen level has plummeted in the last two years but I will be leaving like that for the time being.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby Mico » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:48 pm

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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby ledgemoor » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:08 pm

Things didn't change much after menopause for dw. She had an oophrectomy, and lubrication during arousal, vaginal moisture and vaginal health in general, and ability to O went to pot. She went on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and after a couple of years of adjusting dosages and giving things time to stabilize, she is doing great now.

Give her a few months to stabilize then go to a bhrt doctor and get her hormone levels checked.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby MyWifesMan » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:30 pm

She went on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and after a couple of years of adjusting dosages and giving things time to stabilize, she is doing great now.


I know that hormone replacement seems to be the latest rage (and most certainly a well-marketed one), but I am very wary of long-term use of such things. No doubt Big Pharma has an answer - no to mention a HUGE profit motive - for just about everything. While I'm certainly not anti-mondern medicine, I just wonder how safe some of these replacement therapies truly are. It's an important question that I wouldn't want to guess at (and I'm not suggesting anyone here is doing that).

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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby ledgemoor » Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:26 pm

No, Bioidentical HRT is as non-big-pharma as you can get. The hormones used are like natural human hormones and cannot be patented. On my phone now but will post more tomorrow.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby ledgemoor » Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:42 pm

Ok, I'm back and on a real computer :-).

Typical HRT that you are referring to as being well-marketed by big pharma use estrogen typically collected from pregnant mare urine (Premarin) and more lately Premarin with "progesterone" added (Prempro). The horse progesterone is not like human estrogen, and I put "progesterone" in quotes because I think the progesterone they use is not like human progesterone either, and is in fact referred to as "progestin".

Bioidentical HRT uses manufactured hormones that are identical to the hormones produced by our bodies. They can't call them "natural" since they are made in a lab, but other than that they are essentially natural. Naturally-occurring substances cannot be patented, so big pharma isn't interested. bHRT has been around about 30 years, but is just now starting to catch on, and unfortunately is still more in the domain of "alternative" medicine than mainstream.

The theory is that using "natural" hormones is safer and works better long-term than Prempro etc.

What you do is go to a doctor specializing in bHRT. He will test her estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone levels, as well as thyroid and other stuff, and prescribe hormones as needed to give her optimum hormone levels for a healthy post-menopausal woman. (There is what they call the "Wiley Protocol" in which they try to mimic the hormonal cycles of a young woman in a post-menopausal woman -- not a good idea. I don't know if anyone is still doing that or not).

FYI, testosterone is responsible for libido and lubrication during sex. Estrogen keeps the vagina moist and elastic, and is needed to orgasm. And sex hormones affect a lot health matters not related to sex. All of the benefits of testosterone for men that you read about apply to women. Typically they get extra progesterone too.

There are things you can do on your own that might help. Bioidentical progesterone is available OTC. Zinc & DIM tend to raise testosterone because it slows the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. A good multivitamin and extra Vitamin D is a good idea too. But best get tested.

At any rate, there is no reason why sex shouldn't be as good if not better after menopause than before. Let me know if any questions. A lot of other people on here are knowledgeable too.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby MyWifesMan » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:10 am

Ledgemoor, good things to be thinking about.

Thanks!

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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby Job29Man » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:00 am

Good to hear about the "no Big Pharma" point. Do you know of any literature someone could read who is concerned that bhrt might cause cancer or have other drawbacks? In our house "alternative medicine" is the preferred route.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby MyWifesMan » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:00 am

Good to hear about the "no Big Pharma" point. Do you know of any literature someone could read who is concerned that bhrt might cause cancer or have other drawbacks? In our house "alternative medicine" is the preferred route.


Not sure if your question was meant for me or not, but sorry, no.

But I do know this: Most doctors know relatively little about pharmaceuticals except what the drug company's literature tells them. And espescially for new medications without much of a tract record or adequately populated scientific studies, physicians are relying on the drug companies' marketing information. Doctors are very much trained in school to adopt a medications-based mentality. Not to mention that a doctor often feels he needs to try SOMETHING rather than trying nothing - and that is what most patients have come to expect. This is a very dangerous and now long-established trend - doctors following the marketing materials created by the very same entities that have a profit motive in selling them. That is not to say that there aren't some excellent and life-improving and sustaining medications out there - there are many such. But the propensity for doctors to FIRST suggest a pharmaceutical approach. when a more natural and patient one might be more effective, is far too prevalent. And now because the cautionary statements attached to the literature or commercials ("product many cause stroke, paralysis, vomiting, death, etc") are now commonplace and mostly ignored, people tend to forget that these cautions are included to help prevent liability, and they are also included because for a certain percentage of people, various medications can cause great harm or significant problems. So ALL medications come with a risk, perhaps minimal.

Most doctors don't take natural supplements very seriously! And partly that's because the research is mostly done on pharmaceuticals. Why - becaue that's where the money is and also this is a necessary process for FDA approval. Yes, there is a huge industry pushing often-worthless natural, OTC supplements and treatments. But that doesn't mean there aren't some fantastic natural (not pharmaceutical) options that work very well for millions. But you have to do the proper research. Look for studies of results. An example: researching supplements is how I learned about the nitric oxide effects of L-Citrulline - a natural and CHEAP, non-pharmaceutical supplement that is a replacement for a natural occurring and post-50 diminishing substance produced by a man's body . It works amazingly. And I can guaranteee you my physician would have urged me to start using one of the blue pills - probably for the rest of my life. I'm nearly 57 and thank the Lord I am pharmaceutical-free.

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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby Job29Man » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:42 am

MyWifesMan wrote: I'm nearly 57 and thank the Lord I am pharmaceutical-free.
Awesome! So am I. I wish more people could say that.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby txtwindad » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:30 pm

Getting away from this side trail. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy IS alternative medicine. Insurance doesn't cover it. Big pharmacy companies do try to hop on board, but unless you just want to spend big bucks on the hormones, they are available very inexpensively. Taking HRT without competent monitoring is dangerous. Taking it under competent oversight is not.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby Nvr2Late » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:48 pm

Here's one article that helps dispel the fear about bioidentical hormone replacement (for men). That same site is a gold mine of information for hormone therapy for men and for women.

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/jun2012_Testosterone-Controversy_01.htm

1) If your libido and natural lubrication greatly diminished after menopause, did either return to its pre-menopause state? And, IF so, how long did this take (for either)? No. But the decline was very slow.

2) And IF you were able to recover your libido level and your natural lubrication, what things did you do to facilitate this? Libido recovery: BHRT (testosterone, estradiol and progesterone). See more about the lubrication question below.

3) And, related to #2, did you successfully discover any medications or supplements that helped either your libido or NATURAL lubrication (not asking about lubes)? Supplements didn't do any good but there are some decent work arounds for vaginal dryness - I like Carlson's Vit E suppositories. I used to use Liqui-Beads by KY but they quit making them. The Vitamin E suppositories also are reputed to help me with post radiation damage to the mucosa.


ETA: I'm post menopausal (since 2001) and do have vaginal dryness issues. Discovered coconut oil a long time ago and love it. There are some other lubes that work ok, but almost all get sticky sooner or later so I always come back to the CO. If I am VERY very aroused, my natural lubrication will eventually kick in, but it's never as much as when I was younger and rarely enough for comfortable PIV. I try to avoid answering these types of questions because I have extenuating circumstances (pelvic radiation in 2009 for cancer) which I think adds to my issues and wouldn't be the norm for most.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby txtwindad » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:02 pm

What an interesting article. Thanks for sharing that.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby ledgemoor » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:29 pm

There are a bunch of books on amazon
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... nt+therapy
and your library probably has some. I can't really recommend any, although I will say that Suzanne Sommer's "Ageless" is one that your library is likely to have, but not good IMO because she likes the Wiley protocol. John Lee is one of the pioneers in the field, and I can recommend anything by him. We actually went to one of his lectures not long before he died.

You can start with Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioidentic ... nt_therapy
The article is anti-bHRT, and pretty much parrots the arguments used by doctors who are opposed to it. Their main argument is that there is no proof that bHRT work any better than the FDA-god approved stuff. They actually state that bHRT is expected to carry the same risks as non-bioidentical, but no studies have been done. There is no proof that FDA-approved stuff is better either. To me, that in itself is telling. They are afraid that the studies would reveal that the real thing is better. If they suspected that Prempro was better than bHRT, believe me, they would be funding huge studies to prove that.

However, the article references two small studies that show no increase in cancer or a slight decrease.

BTW, one of my wife's oncologists felt that the WHI study referenced by the Wikipedia article, (a PremPro study that was terminated early due to increases of cancer, heart attack, and stroke) was more driven by media than science. She feels that for women without ovaries, the benefits of PremPro outweigh the risks. I accept as a matter of faith that God knows what He is doing, and that "natural" hormones which He designed for our bodies would be even safer and more beneficial. Premarin and PremPro are stronger than human hormones.

So bottom line, yes, testosterone and estrogen have been proven to speed growth of cancer in the lab. Chemical castration is a common treatment for prostate cancer. But the real question is "do normal estrogen and testosterone levels put a normal person at a higher risk for cancer. I asked the above-mentioned oncologist this, and she didn't give a straight answer. So I asked, "if you removed the ovaries of 1000 normal healthy women, do you think would their cancer rates drop?" She pretended to be horrified that I would even suggest such a thing, but still no answer. So to my knowledge, no one has shown that normal hormone levels are harmful in any way. Progesterone is a known cancer deterrent, BTW.

And, there is more to life than avoiding cancer. If you don't die from cancer because a heart attack gets you first, what's the point?

There is certainly no risk in a few blood tests to determine her hormone levels. If they are low or middling, the risk from sane doses of hormones is low. I have never heard of anyone having long-term bad effects from them. SANE amounts are the key. Better too little than too much! You don't want to make a 25-yer-old out of her. Better to err on the side of caution and be patient in waiting for the benefits.

PS Here are some other points where the Wikipedia article is off-base:

*bHRT doctors typically do NOT sell you the hormones. You need a licensed pharmacy with a pharmacist trained in compounding. The doctor has no incentive to prescribe something you don't need.

*bioIdentical hormones are not more expensive. DWs costs her about $2.50/day. Estrace, a vaginal estrogen cream, costs way more than that. Never priced PremPro, but I bet it is more. Keeping a bunch of pregnant horses around can't be cheap.

*They argue that saliva and blood tests of hormone levels are not accurate, yet the same blood tests are used in men for TRT, and they work good enough for that. Furthermore, they fail to mention that the tests don't have to be accurate, as the proper dosage generally has to be determined experimentally. The tests are useful -- say if a woman has low libido and lack of lubrication, but her testosterone levels are thru the roof, the doctor knows to look elsewhere.

I agree that saliva tests are probably more a racket than anything, and not necessary given the ready availability of blood tests, which are cheaper and easier.
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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby SquarePants » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:41 pm

Job29Man wrote:Do you know of any literature someone could read who is concerned that bhrt might cause cancer or have other drawbacks? In our house "alternative medicine" is the preferred route.


Here's a 2009 article about this issue:
Bioidentical Hormones: Why Are They Still Controversial?

Like Txtwindad mentioned, Bioidentical Hormones are still pretty alternative.

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Re: Questions for Women: Libido After Menopause

Postby ledgemoor » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:05 pm

Good article. Thanks! Interesting that women are most at risk for breast cancer when their estrogen is lowest :D.
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