As a pharmacist specializing in both arthritis and menopause, I am often asked about changes in libido with aging and if arthritis can affect this. There is a natural lowering of libido with age as blood flow to the genital area decreases and hormone levels decline. This is true for both men and women. As estrogen levels fall after menopause, there can be significant dryness and decreased blood flow which can affect drive and comfort associated with intimacy. To make this worse, people with arthritis who may have pain and stiffness can have difficulty finding a comfortable position.
The Arthritis Society has published a series of booklets on lifestyle and one is entitled, “Intimacy and Arthritis”. This can also be found on their website: www.arthritis.ca. Don’t hesitate to discuss options, including hormone therapy with your health care provider as there are many helpful strategies.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.