Menopause may seem like the end of your sex life, but in truth, it’s just the end of a cis-gendered woman’s fertile years. Healthy people continue having intimate relations as late as their 80s and 90s, and strong, healthy marriages are possible late in life. However, symptoms of menopause can put a damper on your sex life with irritating side effects.
Our team of empathetic professionals at Lakewood Ranch Health in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, is led by Leo Kuo, MD, a general practitioner with the necessary empathy and experience to guide you through the problematic effects of menopause. One of the most bothersome experiences through menopause is vaginal dryness, a common symptom, but Dr. Kuo can treat your intimate issues.
What is happening to me?
Menopause occurs when female hormones, naturally produced by the body, begin to decline. The decline in hormone production usually occurs in women’s late 40s and early 50s, and during menopause, natural pregnancy and childbirth become nearly impossible. As your hormone levels shrink, your body responds in several different ways, including weakening your libido.
You are considered officially menopausal after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. However, age and natural processes aren’t the only causes of menopausal symptoms – surgeries like oophorectomies, which remove the ovaries, certain cancer treatments, and ovarian insufficiency.
As menopause progresses, the decline in estrogen levels causes the lining of the vagina to thin, losing its elasticity and moisture. This is called vaginal atrophy, a common symptom in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Additional symptoms of vagina atrophy include burning, itching, pain, and bleeding.
Vaginal dryness affects approximately 1 out of every 3 women experiencing menopause, which some people call ‘the change.’ The change can bring an unwelcome change to intimate times with your partner, which could affect your self-esteem, or in some cases, create a strain in your relationship.
What can I do about my vaginal dryness?
If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, don’t despair! There are many over-the-counter remedies for vaginal dryness. Personal lubricants are easy to find at drugstores, supermarkets, and even convenience stores. When shopping for lubricants, pay attention to the ingredients, and stick to water-based lubricants that are free of additives.
Novelty oils for intimate massages may cause allergic reactions on the skin in sensitive areas, like vaginal and perianal areas, so take a look at the ingredients to ensure they’re free of fragrance and flavors. If you insist on trying a novelty massage oil, avoid using it around your genital area.
Personal lubricants are typically used in intimate situations. Still, more recent products, like Rephresh, provide safe, long-lasting moisture that can keep you comfortable for several days at a time. You will have to continue to use these products consistently to maintain the moisture that they provide.
If personal lubricants or long-acting moisturizers aren’t enough, Dr. Kuo offers hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT is available as oral pills, chewable pellets, creams, and injectables. Once you’ve established a treatment plan for your vaginal dryness, you’ll notice that your other symptoms of menopause are less severe.
Will my intimate issues last for the rest of my life?
With proper and consistent HRT treatment, the natural moisture levels of your vagina will improve. If you need more moisture to be comfortable, Dr. Kuo can recommend supplemental products or therapies to help you feel as good as you would like. You don’t have to live with the discomfort of vaginal dryness. Call 689-210-4827 today, or book an appointment with us online.