Work, home life, kids, stress, family obligations… all of the responsibilities we have can leave mom feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated. The daily grind doesn’t leave much time, energy and even desire for intimacy with your partner, does it. Yes I’m talking about sex and other things.
Anything can become an excuse to avoid sex! Why do many women experience a decreased libido? Is it just being tired? Not in the mood? I had the chance to chat with Dr. Jennifer Berman, leading expert on women’s sexual health issues and co-host of the Emmy® Award-winning talk show, The Doctors.
“There are many physical and medical reasons why women changes in their sexual libido,” says Dr. Berman. “Along those lines, having babies, aging, and menopause are all risk factors to sexual dysfunction complaints along with stress urinary incontinence and urinary tract health go hand in hand.”
What can women do with less than active libido
There are several medical reasons that women experienced decreased libido. “If woman is experiencing pain or dryness can be an issue. No desire to have sex? There are neurochemical alterations that affect libido,” says Dr. Berman.
Some factors can include:
Relationship issues: There may be a lack of emotional or physical satisfaction causing the less-than-active libido. The birth of a child can decrease sexual desire.
Work stress: Stress related to work and finances can also negatively influence sexual desire.
Low testosterone: Testosterone affects sexual drive in both men and women. Testosterone levels peak in women’s mid-20s and then steadily decline until menopause, when they drop dramatically.
Medications: Certain antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives can lower sexual drive in many ways, such as decreasing available testosterone levels or affecting blood flow.
Medical issues: Medical conditions, such as endometriosis, fibroids, thyroid disorders, and depression can impact a woman’s sexual drive both mentally and physically.
Determining what is the cause is the first step and speaking to your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options.
Stress urinary incontinence
Another reason some women may be embarrassed or afraid to have sex is urinary incontinence. Yes, that lovely leakage that occurs when you cough, sneeze or jump, leaving you running for the bathroom. This condition affects one in four Canadian women at some point in their lives and of these, almost half (49%) suffer from SUI, meaning chances are your mom, aunt, sister, friend or someone you know does or has experienced it.
Sex and bladder leakage isn’t necessarily a fun topic to discuss, but many women experience these problems so we need to be discussing it. Women may experience self-esteem issues because of these bodily dysfunctions, but it happens and is more common that you think!
Other than women experiencing pain, dryness, and decreased libido, what are other risk factors? “Weight gain, smoking, diet, prior pelvic surgery, aging and having children adds to the risk factor for incontinence because the support structure to our bladder and urethra become thinner and weaker which leads to SUI,” says Dr. Berman.
Aren’t Kegels enough?
Kegels are effective if you’ve doing them from before, during and after pregnancy on a consistent basis. Women simply don’t do that. “By the time women reach their late 40s or early 50s, the strength of those muscles decline and the integrity of those muscles and tissues are compromised with aging,” Dr. Berman says.
Poise Impressa Bladder Supports are an alternative to surgery which is the only other option for SUI. It acts that the way a surgical sling would work supporting the urethra without surgery.
“It’s a temporary solution, but for women that are active and that can’t enjoy the activities that they’re used to, playing tennis, jogging or jumping on the trampoline with their kids,” says Dr. Berman. “It’s also over the counter. She can go to the store herself, size herself and basically treat herself for this condition.”
What people can do is talk about sexual health openly, and speak to their health care provider to discuss options.