Senior Sexual Health: Why It Matters and How We Can Help to Address It
Sexual health is important at all ages. We are sexual beings, and this does not change just because we get older. Maintaining an active sex life, whether with a partner or alone, is important for many reasons. Sexual activity burns calories, increases muscle tone, improves mood and disposition, helps with mind clarity, supports a stronger immune system, improves sleep, gives relief from headaches, and lowers blood pressure. These are incredible benefits that come with maintaining an active sex life as you age. Unfortunately, as we age, there are changes in our bodies which make having sex a bit more difficult or less frequent. Fortunately, many of these changes can be minimized through modern medical practices.
As women age, their estrogen production starts to change dramatically. Many women will start experiencing early menopause in their 40s; this time period is called perimenopause and can last up to 10 years. Lower levels of estrogen can cause poor sleep, hair loss, weight gain, and decreased libido. Dramatic drops in estrogen levels can also cause a lack of vaginal lubrication and even changes in the shape of the vagina; both of these can cause sex to go from a pleasurable experience to an incredibly painful one. Hormone replacement therapy may help relieve the symptoms that make sex uncomfortable. Estrogen is available in patches, cremes, pills, and gels. If you are taking antidepressants, especially from the benzodiazepine family, your health care professional may want to switch you to one of the antidepressants that doesn’t impact your sex drive. Even though the production of testosterone is lower in women, testosterone is still essential to a woman’s libido. Low doses may be prescribed to improve a woman’s desire for sexual activity. New water-soluble gels and cremes are available to help with dryness and pain during sexual intercourse.
Most men experience effects on their sexual energy later than women. Typically, not until their 50s will men may see a decline in their sex drive. Unfortunately, many men will suffer from impotence or erectile dysfunction, ED. This condition makes it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection and impacts a man’s self-image. Also, aging men may deal with prostate changes which may affect their sexual health. The prostate gland enlarges as a man ages. An enlarged prostate has a direct effect on the urgency and frequency of urination. Having to wake up and urinate disrupts sleep patterns. Since your body rebuilds itself at night, changes in sleep habits dramatically impacts many areas of health. Unfortunately, prostate cancer may also be a concern for many older men. Faced with these very “real” concerns, it’s not surprising that many men suffer with low libido. Hormone replacement therapy has been very effective in helping men regain control of themselves as sexual beings. The increasing drop in testosterone levels causes many issues in men, such as, muscle loss, weight gain, loss of mental clarity, a diminished sex drive, and depression. Just like women, men are affected by antidepressants and other prescription items. So be sure to check with your doctor about any medications that you are taking.
Improving your sexual health can start with improving your daily habits. Both men and women benefit from leading healthy lifestyles. Leave the bad habits of drinking, smoking, and illegal drug use alone as they only diminish your sex drive and can lead to illness and possibly disease. Scheduling regular exercise, both aerobic and weight bearing, will have a positive impact on your energy level and body image, both of which can improve your sex drive. Financial stress and daily situations have the ability to lessen your sexual desires; so, make sure you are planning and scheduling the work side of your life while remembering to leave time for fun activities. This will decrease the stress in your life and make the idea of intimacy more pleasurable. While you are scheduling time for fun, make sure you include time for sexual intimacy in your calendar. Learn to communicate better with your significant other. Maintaining strong emotional ties and feelings of trust are important factors for sexually intimacy. It’s also important to remember that a relationship is about more than sex. If you are part of a couple, plan fun spontaneous dates. Go for walks. Always find time for a kiss good-bye. Feel good about both yourself and your partner. Taking the focus off of sex may ultimately improve your sex life and, consequently, help you become a healthier, happier person.
The next step in addressing any problem that is impacting your sexual health is to talk with a trained health care professional. An honest conversation with your doctor or trusted health care professional will help diagnose the cause of your sexual difficulty. If you feel awkward starting such a conversation, just remember that aging happens to everyone and that everyone is going to deal with similar issues sooner or later. What is important to remember is that maintaining an active sex life is an essential and important part of your quest for a better, healthier you and a more fulfilling life.
Androgenix Can Help
If you have concerns about how your medications might be affecting your sex life or if you need help and support making a plan for a better you and a better life, talk with our medical staff. If you have any health concerns or need help with an exercise or dietary plan, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff to visit our office for a consult. You will be given a complete physical examination and undergo a comprehensive blood work-up. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners will help, not only, diagnose and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you, but we will monitor your treatment plan for safety and effectiveness on a regular basis. Androgenix is here to support you in your journey to a better, healthier you. Every person who enters our doors is treated as an individual deserving of care and respect. We can help you feel and look better. Give us a call today.
- Low sex drive in women – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic
- Sexual health Sex and aging – Mayo Clinic
- Sexuality and Intimacy in Older Adults | National Institute on Aging (nih.gov)
- Sexual Health for Older Adults (ncoa.org)
- Sexual health Sex and aging – Mayo Clinic
- What is sexual wellbeing and why does it matter for public health? – The Lancet Public Health
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.