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IntimacyAs we age, there is a natural decline in our sex hormones. This happens with men and women. Estrogen levels in women are partially responsible for libido and vaginal lubrication. As those levels decline, intimacy becomes more challenging. Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse are among the most common complaints I see for female patients in my practice.

These concerns often correlate with low estrogen levels. There are natural treatments to restore vaginal lubrication, like Neueve vaginal moisturizers. They are an easy-to-use, scent-free vaginal suppository. There is also estriol vaginal suppositories made by compound pharmacists. Estriol is the weakest of the 4 estrogens that carry negligible hormone risk for people with risk factors for use of hormones such as a family history of breast cancer, personal history of breast cancer, or hyper-coagulable disorder.

Estriol provides therapeutic benefits directly to the vaginal tissue with minimal systemic effect. This means that moisture in the vaginal tissue is restored without increasing estrogen levels.  As women age, the vaginal tissue becomes very thin and can easily tear during intercourse. Using estriol vaginal suppositories one to three times a week rehydrates the vaginal tissue. This provides women relief from painful intercourse. Caring for the vaginal tissue also decreases the risk of urinary tract infections that are common w aging and menopause.

Some natural supplements can boost libido, which is transformative for couples. One is Maca powder, an herb used in Ayurvedic Medicine that has been around for thousands of years. It has a very earthy flavor and is sometimes hard to palate. I find that mixing Maca powder in a berry smoothie is an excellent way to hide the earthy flavor. Another effective energy and libido-boosting supplement are cordyceps mushrooms. Cordyceps has been traditionally used in Asia for high-altitude strenuous activities. It has become commonly utilized among physical fitness enthusiasts because it increases oxygen uptake in the body. This supports healthy sexual function. It has a positive impact on blood flow and testosterone levels.

It is also paramount to consider emotional intimacy for women. Romance is an important part of bonding for women and their partners, whereas men tend to be physical in their method of bonding with their partners.   Women may benefit from sensual massage and vibrator use alongside a partner, cuddling, and oral sex.  Scheduling regular date nights for couples solidifies the bonding that is germane to maintaining long-term intimate relationships. Since each woman and her partner are unique, having an open dialogue about intimacy issues is salient to a successful outcome.

Wishing you wellness,
Michelle Mendoza, MD
Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine
Board Eligible Integrative Medicine Specialist