Vaginal Discomfort from Menopause



When going through menopause, one of the most irritating symptoms is the vaginal discomfort that comes from menopause. Having dry, itching skin, headaches, joint pain, night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings is bad enough but now this, you probably feel frustrated and rightfully so. Since the hormone, estrogen plays such an important part in the reproductive system, when these levels begin to decline during menopause, dramatic changes occur, in the reproductive organs. With this, you might have several symptoms but the vaginal itching and discomfort is by far the worst. However, the interesting thing is that as you go into the menopause years, you will typically not experience this particular problem for five to ten years after the initial onset of menopause.

What happens is that as you age, the natural lubrication of the vagina in response to sexual arousal begins to slow down. In addition, because of the lower level of estrogen, the vaginal wall starts to thin, become less elastic, and dries out. Over several years, the secretion of cervical mucus can only aggravate the problem. Now, when you start to add all these things up, you can see why pain and/or bleeding during intercourse are a common complaint. This condition known as dypareunia is what ultimately results in the vaginal discomfort from menopause.

Another problem associated with the vaginal discomfort and menopause is that during this time, the vagina actually becomes more and more vulnerable to injury since the tissues can be traumatized much easier. With this, bacterial infection is more likely. If you are going through all this, then chances are you are miserable during the day and sleeping very little at night. Not only is the vagina discomfort, but this is also an embarrassing issue, especially if married or in an intimate relationship. The key is to work with your partner, avoiding rough intercourse and using good vaginal lubricants. Interestingly, an active sex life can actually help maintain vaginal health, something many women are unaware of, thinking the opposite to be true.

Okay, you are probably asking the best way to cope with vaginal discomfort from menopause. First, as mentioned you actually want to stay sexually active, not just during menopause but for life. With this, the blood flow to the vagina is increased, which then stimulates the mucous membrane and exercises all the surrounding muscles. Many studies have been performed on this very issue with the findings that women who have an orgasm three or more times each month have less risk of having vaginal atrophy than women who have intercourse 10 times a year or less.

One option to find relief from vaginal discomfort associated with menopause is to use quality vaginal lubricants, which are usually sold at your local drugstore and over the counter. The best choice is something like K-Y Jelly, something that is water-soluble. However, other moisturizers work exceptionally well to include Replens, one of the top sellers. Things you want to avoid when dealing with vaginal discomfort and menopause is anything that is oil-based. The reason is that these products are extremely messy, which does not add anything to the sexual encounter and they create a breeding ground for bacteria that could easily lead to infection.

While hormone replacement therapy has shown to help with vaginal dryness from menopause, recent studies report that this form of treatment puts women at much higher risk for developing certain types of cancers. Therefore, before you choose this option, you want to talk with your doctor and really weigh all the pros and cons. One option less intense then as oral hormone replacement therapy is to use estrogen creams, which are applied to the vagina to help restore the lubricating capacity. Just remember, these creams also have risks so you need to really, think about other options first.

Vaginal discomfort from menopause can have a devastating effect on your sex life. Remember that sexual arousal and response generally peaks around age 30 to 40 but remains high even into your 60ís but with discomfort, you can be robbed from sexual enjoyment. Therefore, you need to find the solution that will help make intercourse more enjoyable without creating more problems. One thing you might try is eliminating harsh soaps, which can make the problem worse. Again, lubricants developed specifically for vaginal dryness is one of your best options.

Two other common problems associated with vaginal discomfort and menopause includes yeast infections and discharge. Many times, women going through menopause will develop infections from one thing or another. For treatment, the doctor will prescribe steroids or antibiotics, both that can cause yeast infections. If you notice a discharge or foul odor, then you want to use a mild soap and warm water to carefully, and gently clean the vaginal area. Then, something like Lotrison or Monistat cream can help stop the discomfort and itching. If the infection is too bad, talk to your doctor about other treatment options. Finally, discharge can be just as annoying. Again, this is commonly associated with menopause but there are a number of products, both prescription and herbal that can bring you relief.


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