The reduction of estrogen in the body, whether through natural or surgical or chemical (medication) menopause, will affect the pliability of the vagina: its walls will get thinner and their pleats that provide extra stretch will be lost, the cushioning between the lower urethra and vagina will be compromised (urinary urgency and frequency), the natural lubrication will be lost (dry vagina), and the vagina will become more susceptible to friction irritation, chafing, and even spotting during intercourse.
Is it a wonder that women decline penetrative sex once it becomes a painful experience, and many go on to turning off their sexual interest under the excuse of ‘I lost my libido?’ Who wants to suffer when sexual intimacy should be fun and pleasurable?
But there is no need to live like that when there are solutions:
- Vaginal estrogen therapy has a restorative effect and women should consider this option unless medically contraindicated
- Vaginal moisturizer inserted at bedtime is of great help in soothing the progressively increasing dryness
- Vaginal lubricant should be a standard during penetrative sex
- Explore alternative options for sexual intimacy with the partner, an important component of a healthy relationship.
To learn more, read our dedicated webpage Menopause & Painful Sex