Menopause & Sex
VULVA/VAGINA DURING MENOPAUSE
Hormonal changes during menopause can often affect the vulva, the vestibule and the vagina. The Vulva (outer and inner lips) can become dry, more sensitive, fragile and prone to inflammation, resulting in itching, burning and discomfort. Sex can become more difficult due to discomfort or pain; the intensity of an orgasm can become less; and the time it takes to achieve an orgasm may be longer. Your libido (sex drive) may be affected due to hormonal changes or the discomfort of sex and issues your partner may have (erectile problems). Some women also become further sexually aware during menopause including some women who have avoided sex for many years or have not yet experienced sex. We are here to help you understand your anatomy and offer treatments that can help achieve sexual comfort and satisfaction. The vagina and vestibule (entrance to the vagina) can become thinner and more fragile from lack of estrogen which can lead to decreased lubrication (dryness) that can cause discomfort, pain and bleeding at times. If you have not had sex for a while, the vaginal opening can become smaller and thus more painful. The good news is that we can help you make this area more functional and comfortable. There are many options available including natural lubricants, hormone therapy and vaginal treatments (creams or pills). Vaginal dilators (dildos) can also be used very effectively and painlessly to widen the entrance. If needed, male hormone supplements (testosterone) can increase your libido and enjoyment of sex. This might be a very difficult topic to bring up with your Gynecologist but we encourage you to do so. Sometimes it may take a little courage to address these issues and become as active as you would like to be.