Today I have on a very special guest today, Dr. Mathews! Dr. Mathews is a board certified OBGYN, minimally invasive gynecology surgeon, and NAMS certified menopause specialist.
As a mother and a wife herself, her goal is to help women of all ages to maintain their own quality of life while keeping up with the day to day needs of their families and careers. Her practice emphasizes the importance of patient education and empowerment to make the best possible decisions for themselves and their bodies.
It’s about creating a relationship where women feel open to talk about it without being judged about it. There’s just an idea that that's just what happens when you get older and there’s nothing we can do about it. But there’s a lot we can do about it, menopause doesn’t have to be a death sentence, we can still have a very robust life in all different ways, in health, sexual health and everything.
Would she say that libido is more of a physical or mental problem typically for women?
It’s everything. It’s way more complicated than people realize. Especially for women the amount of things that need to come together to even get to the point of arousal, there are just so many aspects at play.
What are changes that women might see before menopause?
Menopause by definition is one whole year of not having a period during a natural unhindered cycle.
Perimenopause is the time leading up to it and that can start 5-7 years before actual menopause. Those years that can be filled with the symptoms that are typically known as menopausal symptoms without much or any disruption to your cycle.
Some of those symptoms are night sweats, hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, irritability, depression and anxiety, weight gain. You might also experience vaginal dryness, less elasticity, more frequent vaginal infections or UTIs.
What would she recommend for someone who is experiencing dryness?
You want a good quality lubricant. The considerations you’d take for something you’re going to put on your face, you need to do the same for your vagina. You want something that isn’t going to disrupt the microbiome's natural balance of things.
What tips would she give for someone looking to maintain a healthy sex life?
Sometimes it’s a hormonal change and she starts local vaginal estrogen therapy. That’s one of the more common issues and you can correct that on a very basic level.
Self exploration! No one knows your body better than yourself. If anyone is going to figure out what’s going to help you get aroused or stimulate your anatomy, what you need to have on your mind, or what you need to watch, hear, or read to inspire those thoughts, that’s you! You can’t expect a partner to read your mind to that level. And that stuff can change, what worked for you in your 20’s might not work for you always.
If you’re looking for a doctor that is open to talking about this kind of thing?
The North American Menopause Society has a database of all the certified practitioners. They have to have conferences every year or take a crazy exam, so they’re definitely going to be on top of these things. They’re going to not only know about menopause but also sexual health, hormonal and physiological changes.
Menopause doesn't need to be the end of anything. It might not be an easy journey, but with the right resources, you can maintain a happy and healthy life and sex life.
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