Reproductive System Changes with Age

Sep 12, 2014 0 Comments in Infertility by
Reproductive System Changes with Age

Reproductive System Changes with Age

The male and female reproductive system is responsible for producing produce sex hormones and cells.  However, with age, a number of changes take place in the reproductive systems of both men and women. While it is the female reproductive system that plays a big role in the growth and production of a fetus, age-related changes affect its efficiency. In females, the most striking changes occur at menopause, while in males, age-related changes are slow, occurring gradually over a period of time.

Aging and Reproductive System

The cessation of menstruation is an obvious sign of aging in females. Such a stage is known as menopause – when ovulation and menstruation come to an end. Typically, menopause may occur any time after a woman turns 45 years. Aging of the reproductive system results in a reduction of estrogen and progesterone levels. As a result, urethral and vaginal walls become thin.

Prior to menopause, ovaries tend to become less responsive to sexual stimulation. As a result, the body raises its production of ovary stimulating hormones to compensate for the decreased response. However, there is an eventual reduction in the level of these hormones produced by pituitary gland and ovaries.  Menopause occurs when the menstrual cycle is not reported for almost a year. Menopause sets the stage for the aging of reproductive system in females, and women lose their reproductive capacity.

With a drop in hormone levels, age-related changes occur in the female reproductive system. While the vagina becomes shorter, the vaginal walls become thinner, less elastic, less rigid, and more irritated. There is a drop in the secretions and atrophy of the labia.

  • Not only this, the breast tissue also starts to shrink when other reproductive changes are occurring in the body. As a result of aging of reproductive system, a woman may experience changes in sexual response, stimulation, and libido.
  • With age, there is an increased risk of the uterus, vagina, or urinary bladder falling out of position. A prolapse of one of these structures raises the risk of further problems, including urine leakage, urgency of urination, and stress incontinence.
  • Sexual intercourse may become painful and uncomfortable, with a greater risk of vaginal yeast infections, as the level of normal microorganisms in the vagina changes.

Male Aging and Reproductive System Changes

low testosterone in Men Image

low testosterone in Men

Male climacteric is the equivalent of menopause in men aged between 50 and 60 years. During this stage, there is a decline in the circulating testosterone levels, while sperm production continues, which means men can still father children. With age, there is a gradual decline in the duration, frequency, and rigidity of erections. Blood flow to the penile tissue also decreases, and levels of male sex hormone come down gradually, thus reducing sex drive. A majority of men start reporting reduction in penile sensitivity and ejaculatory volume. Some other changes include more rapid cessation of sexual stimuli, orgasm without ejaculation, and longer refractory period.