The following topics concerning the sex and psychology may be found in the AMS Information Sheets.
Sexual difficulties in the menopause
Sexual response and therefore sexual difficulty can refer to desire, arousal, orgasm or pain with intercourse. Although these are classified as separate elements in sexual response, they become inextricably linked when dysfunction occurs. A clinical history should attempt to define what may be the initiating and maintaining problems.
Low libido refers to diminished desire for sex. When clinically a problem it is referred to as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Low libido is the most common sexual concern reported by women and is often inseparable from diminished capacity to become aroused. More recently HSDD has been merged with female sexual arousal disorders and re-named 'female sexual interest-arousal disorder' (FSIAD), which remains primarily based on sexual desire (1). It is still reasonable to talk about HSDD or simply loss of libido. Other common sexual concerns for women include delayed / inability to achieve an orgasm and vaginal pain, often due to vaginal dryness.
Sexual difficulties can be life-long or recently acquired, but they are a common presentation at the menopause. They may also be situational (limited to certain types of stimulation, situations, or partners) or generalized.
A useful reference for both women and their partners is the book “Where Did My Libido Go?” by Dr Rosie King.
Sleep Disturbance and the Menopause
Sleep disturbance, or insomnia, is a common problem in menopause. Having problems sleeping is not only unpleasant, it also affects quality of life, increases the risk of accidents, and can reduce concentration and memory.
Insomnia - unsatisfactory sleep - occurs in up to twice as many women during and after menopause compared to younger women. This deterioration in sleep usually starts a few years before menopause.
Mood and the menopause
Depression is common and affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men at some stage of their lives (beyondblue). Depression usually responds well to treatment, but if untreated can be persistent. At least half of those who recover from their first depressive episode will suffer additional episodes and 80% of those who have a history of two episodes of depression, will go on to have a further recurrence(1).
Note: Medical and scientific information provided and endorsed by the Australasian Menopause Society might not be relevant to a particular person's circumstances and should always be discussed with that person's own healthcare provider.
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Content updated October 2022