Painful Intercourse after Menopause
As the periods come to an end and the duration of menopause arrives you will notice a number of changes in your body. Every woman experiences different symptoms of menopause including burning, irritation, dryness, and painful sex. After menopause, sex life starts losing its charm as intercourse becomes irritating.
Menopause is the stage when the female cycle of a woman ends; she no longer has periods and is no longer able to conceive naturally. Periods normally begin to become less frequent over the course of a few months or years before ceasing entirely or in some cases they can come to a halt at any time.
Between the ages of 45 and 55, the menopausal transition usually begins. It normally lasts seven years, although it can last up to fourteen years. The length of menopause varies among women depending on lifestyle, age, race, and ethnicity.
Menopause and Painful Intercourse
Sex is painful during menopause due to hormonal and metabolic changes occurring in the body. An article was published by the National Library of Medicine in 2019 regarding Sexual Health in Menopause. The article states that menopause worsens the sexual life of women. Almost 45 % – 55 % of women report low sexual desires due to menopause.
The major reasons behind painful intercourse after menopause are a drastic decrease in estrogen hormone in the body and vaginal dryness known as vaginal atrophy.
Low Estrogen Levels
Painful intercourse is frequently connected with changes in estrogen levels after menopause. During sexual activity or a pelvic exam, the vaginal tissues become less elastic, more delicate, and more vulnerable to bleeding, tearing, or discomfort. It may make intercourse uncomfortable, if not impossible. Estrogen deficiency can lead to bladder issues, which can make sex unpleasant. Sexual inactivity causes tissue health and suppleness to deteriorate.
Less estrogen makes your vaginal tissues drier and thin. Estrogen level may decrease
- After menopause
- During years approaching menopause (perimenopause)
Vaginal atrophy is the thinning, dehydration, irritation, and inflammation of the vaginal walls caused by a lack of estrogen in the body. After menopause, vaginal atrophy is the most common symptom. During this condition, vaginal walls become extremely dry like a desert and walls lose their ability to hold moisture. Atrophy alters the vaginal acid, making bacteria, yeast, and other organisms more likely to grow.
It also raises your chances of developing urinary system atrophy (genitourinary atrophy). More frequent or urgent urination, as well as a burning feeling during urine, are symptoms of atrophy-related urinary tract disorders. Vaginal atrophy not only makes intercourse difficult for many women but also causes bothersome urine symptoms.
Intercourse might become uncomfortable when the tissue inside your vagina thins. Dyspareunia is the term for pain experienced during intercourse. The discomfort might be acute or long-term. During intercourse, if the interior of the vagina thins enough, it might rip or bleed. One may have anxiety as a result of painful sex. Anxiety diminishes lubrication, even more, causing you to tighten your vaginal muscles during intercourse. You may completely have to forgo sex if it becomes too uncomfortable.
Sex increases blood flow to the vaginal tissues, which maintains them healthy. When you don’t have sex, your vaginal lining becomes thinner and less elastic. Once you’ve reached menopause, the discomfort may subside. It doesn’t go away in some ladies. According to an article in the American Journal of Nursing published in July 2007, when women transit from menopause to post-menopause intercourse and sex become difficult.
It’s worth noting that up to 50% of women will have dyspareunia following menopause as a result of these tissue alterations. Due to a lack of lubrication, they may suffer a dry burning sensation, which may be accompanied by skin breaking, spotting, or bleeding. Breastfeeding for an extended period of time might cause comparable changes and symptoms like vaginal dryness.
Relief from Painful Intercourse after Menopause
Luckily, one does not have to give up sex entirely to prevent discomfort. Examining your genital region and pelvic muscles might help you figure out where your discomfort is coming from and what’s causing it. If you have physical ailments that are causing your pain, fixing the underlying reason may enable you to feel better. If your sexual health is being harmed by your medications, your doctor may recommend that you modify them. There are a variety of treatments to make sex more pleasant and joyful. Inquire with your gynecologist about which of these solutions is best for you.
Lubricants are liquid or gel-based substances that can aid with dryness. These items could be the first thing you attempt to alleviate sex-related discomfort. Lubricants work by minimizing friction and thereby lowering discomfort. Oil-based lubricants can cause the degradation of condoms during intercourse.
Moisturizers also help with sex friction. Some moisturizers keep the vagina hydrated for a few days. For example, Replens is a moisturizer that works for three to four days.
- Estrogen Treatment
Estrogen improves the flexibility of the vagina, thus estrogen treatments are recommended for extreme cases. Estrogen can be taken directly into the vagina either through the gel, cream, and suppository. The levels of estrogen in these forms are low enough to reduce the danger of systemic estrogen exposure. Low-dose vaginal estrogen treatment, unlike moisturizers and lubricants, really helps correct vaginal tissue abnormalities caused by estrogen loss during menopause. Oral estrogen pills are also available. However, in most cases, the oral dosage of estrogen has shown to have many side effects including, nausea, headache, weight gain, and bleeding in the vagina. Long-term and adverse effects might lead to breast tumors and uterine cancer.
There are many supplements that increase lubrication and improve vaginal health and sexual life. These supplements ameliorate the damaged mucous lining and boost sexual arousal through reduced pains. The best-recommended supplements are Sea Buckthorn Omega-7, Aloe Vera, and Chinese medicines.
Menopause can make sex more uncomfortable due to the thinning and drying of the vaginal lining. Vaginal dryness is treated with lubricants, moisturizers, and different types of estrogen. You can also check with your health expert to boost your sexual life.