From the Healthcare For Women Hormone and Menopause Resource Center – Is sex painful?
Do you think, or have you been told, that this is just what happens when you go into menopause and there is nothing that can be done about it?
While, yes, painful sex is quite often a result of declining estrogen levels with menopause, there actually are many treatment options available.
First, some education, because here at the Healthcare For Women Hormone and Menopause Resource Center we believe that it is important to understand the changes that are happening in our bodies, causing the symptoms that we feel, and to be able to make more informed decisions about treatment options.
The genitourinary syndrome of menopause is defined as a collection of signs and symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency that can involve changes to the labia, introitus, vagina, clitoris, bladder, and urethra. The syndrome includes genital symptoms of dryness, irritation, and burning; urinary symptoms of dysuria, urgency, and recurrent urinary tract infections; and sexual symptoms of dryness and pain.
There are receptors for estrogen throughout the vagina, vulva, urethra, and even in the bladder. Estrogen maintains blood flow to the vulvovaginal tissue, the collagen within the epithelium, and the hyaluronic acid and mucopolysaccharides within the moistened epithelial surfaces. Estrogen also plays a role in supporting the microbiome and protecting the tissue from pathogens. A decrease in estrogen leads to a thinning of the vaginal epithelial tissue, and a subsequent loss in elasticity, leading to a narrowing of the vaginal canal.
All of these changes can lead to painful sex, vaginal dryness, and urinary symptoms.
Many treatments are available including non-hormonal over-the-counter lubricants and vaginal moisturizers, local vaginal estrogen therapy, intravaginal DHEA, oral estrogen agonist/antagonist, and the fractional CO2 laser.
Come visit us at the Healthcare For Women Hormone and Menopause Resource Center for an evaluation and discussion about the best treatment for you.
Contact us today and set up your appointment.
Written by Dr. Winterling