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More Sex After Menopause
Not all people experience a reduced libido after menopause. For some people, not much changes. Others actually experience increased sex drive after menopause. What makes the difference, and which is most likely to affect you?
Some of what predicts changes in sex drive after menopause is what happens to your body, but a lot of it is about whatâs going on in your world. Changes in lifestyle factorssuch as not having children at home and not having to worry about pregnancy and menstruationcan be freeing. Furthermore, that freedom can be erotic.
In general, people who are less stressed and more active after menopause are less likely to experience libido problems. Thatâs also true for people before menopause. A lot of the sex drive takes place in the mind. If your stress goes down after menopause, your sex drive may well go up.
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Your Libido Might Dip Thanks To Menopause
Its not universal, but some people with menopause report decreased libido, says Dr. Pizarro. Issue is, it’s tough for doctors to figure out how to combat a lowered sex drivethe cause isnt exactly easy to pinpoint. For decades, weve blamed loss of libido on a womans ovaries or hormones, says Libido is such a complicated thing that goes way beyond issues of the ovaries, uterus, and hormones, says Dr. Pizarro.
Beyond whatever mysterious physiological changes might affect someones libido at this life stage, adjusting to menopause’s physical changes might play a role. Adequate exercise helps make sure your blood is flowing properly, which is an essential part of getting wet during sex.
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Laser Therapy For Vaginal Health
If youre looking for a safe, non-invasive way to address painful intercourse brought on by low estrogen levels, MonaLisa Touch® laser therapy is an innovative and highly effective long-term solution.
In addition to eliminating vaginal dryness without the need for messy lubricants, hormone replacement therapy, or surgery, laser therapy also helps prevent further complications, including vaginal atrophy.
MonaLisa Touch uses fractional CO2 laser technology to revitalize the tissues that line the vaginal canal. By restoring proper trophic balance to these tissues, the treatment directly addresses the underlying conditions that cause painful sex.
In just three quick treatment sessions, MonaLisa Touch activates the production of new collagen and revitalizes the vaginal mucosa to help restore normal vaginal functional and pain-free sexual intimacy.
MonaLisa Touch is successful for nearly 90% of women affected by hormone-induced vaginal dryness and sexual pain, and its an excellent solution for younger women, cancer patients, and other women who cant safely receive HRT. ;
Were proud that Womens Healthcare of Princeton was one of the first medical practices in the United States to offer MonaLisa Touch laser therapy, and our expert team has helped countless women put an end to painful intercourse, improve sexual health, and find renewed intimacy with their partners.
You dont have to live with sexual pain find out what we can do for you today!
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Your Vagina: Use It Or Lose It
Believe it or not, staying sexually active in menopause helps maintain a healthy vagina.
Regular sexual activity actually increases blood flow to your vaginal tissues. This increase in blood flow helps to promote vaginal health and maintain some of the elasticity and thickness of the vagina. And, you shouldn’t be afraid to take things into your own hands, literally. Direct clitoral stimulation through masturbation or use of a vibrator is an excellent way to encourage blood flow.
Even if you are taking a break from having sex, you need to maintain your vaginal health. When it comes to your vagina you really do need to use it or you will lose it.
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Itisdefinitely True That Sex After Menopause Can Be Painful At Least For Some Time
The most prominent change I hear about from my patients is that sometimes sex can become painful after menopause, board-certified ob/gyn Antonio Pizarro, M.D., tells SELF. Most of the time, this is related to a loss of estrogen. That can cause what’s known as vaginal atrophy or genitourinary syndrome of menopause, in which the vaginal tissue becomes thinner and more delicate, Dr. Pizarro explains. Issues like pain, vaginal dryness, and urinary problems can crop up as a result of vaginal atrophy. Around half of postmenopausal people experience these symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Doctors mainly treat vaginal atrophy with some form of estrogen supplementation, but there can be drawbacks. Pizarro notes that theres a small risk the amped up estrogen can contribute to uterine cancer unless a woman pairs it with the synthetic hormone progestin. But combining the two may then increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, according to The American Cancer Society, which has a comprehensive breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of using hormones to deal with menopause symptoms.
Its Best Not To Ignore Any Changes That Cause You Distress
You may cringe at the thought of talking to your gynecologist about sex. But rest assured, there is no reason to feel awkward. If you’re dealing with these changes and are very much unhappy with them, talk to your doctor. Right now, this may be a conversation that needs to take place via telehealth due to the pandemic. If you feel dismissed, then Dr. Rowen encourages you to consider switching to another provider if at all possible. Go find someone who will listen to you and take your problems seriously, Dr. Rowen says. Together, you can come up with a treatment plan that may help you have a more fulfilling sex life, even after menopause.
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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Causes And Solutions For Painful Intercourse
Sexual intimacy is meant to be an enjoyable experience that draws you and your partner closer together. But when sex becomes painful, you may find yourself doing anything and everything just to avoid it.
While theres no doubt that painful intercourse can have a major impact on your life and your relationship with your partner, its nothing to agonize over or feel embarrassed about. This fairly common problem three in four women experience pain during sex at some point in their lives can usually be resolved with the right approach. ;
Here at Womens Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, weve helped many women overcome painful intercourse and restore their sexual health, and were confident that we can help you, too. ;
What You Can Do To Relieve Pain
Try these tips to boost your sexual pleasure:
Go for more glide. Use a lubricant before and after sex to ease pain due to dryness. Silicone and water-based products are both sold over the counter. If one brand bothers your skin, try others.
Moisturize. A vaginal moisturizer can ease dryness over the long term. Use it routinely, not just before sex.
Make time for foreplay. Spending more time getting aroused makes you wetter. Don’t focus just on The Big Act. Take time to caress, have oral sex, or try varied positions. Talk to your partner about what feels good and what doesn’t.
Wash with care. Avoid using soaps, shower gels, bubble bath, and bath oils in the vaginal area. These can dry skin. A warm-water rinse will do the job. Also skip sprays and perfumes. When you’re having problems, wash your underwear in mild soap. Make your undies white cotton, too.
Have more sex. “Use it or lose it” is true when it comes to the health of your sex organs. Being aroused improves blood flow. So when you have sex often, you’re less dry. Self-pleasure can help if other sex acts hurt.
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Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy can be an appropriate choice for menopausal women looking for relief from painful sex.;
This therapy can help balance estrogen and progesterone levels to reduce many symptoms that menopause can bring about the hot flashes, irritability, and vaginal dryness. There are even some topical estrogen and DHEA creams that can be applied to the vaginal area to help reduce symptoms.
HRT is not for everyone, though, and doesnt come without risks.;
Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor, but if you have any of the following, HRT is likely not the best choice for you:
- History of cancer
- History of problems with vaginal bleeding
I also recommend reading my article on progesterone cream.
Womens Wellness: Painful Sex After Menopause
DEAR MAYO CLINIC:;I am in my late 50s and have recently found that sex is becoming quite uncomfortable. I am assuming this is because Im past menopause, but whats the best way to make sex less painful?
ANSWER:Dyspareunia, the term for painful vaginal sex, is quite common. Estimates vary, but surveys of postmenopausal women not on hormone therapy report dyspareunia in as many as 20 to 30 percent. Its often divided into three categories: superficial pain, deep pain or both. Most women complain of superficial pain, which occurs upon vaginal penetration. Often, the pain has a sharp or burning quality. Deep pain occurs with deep penetration or thrusting. For some women, dyspareunia is temporary. For others, it can become chronic.
After menopause, painful intercourse often is associated with changes due to decreased estrogen levels. The vaginal tissues tend to become less elastic, more fragile, and more susceptible to bleeding, tearing or pain during sexual activity or during a pelvic exam. It can make sex painful or even impossible. The loss of estrogen can cause urinary problems, which also can make sex uncomfortable. Lack of sexual activity contributes to loss of tissue health and elasticity.
There also are a number of other treatment options. Vaginal lubricants help decrease pain during sex and can be applied as often as needed. Keep in mind that oil-based lubricants may degrade condoms. Vaginal moisturizers used every two to three days can help maintain vaginal moisture.
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Treatment Solutions For Sexual Discomfort
Finding the right solution for sex-related pain depends on its underlying cause. If that cause isnt readily apparent, a more exhaustive investigation can often reveal the reason for persistent discomfort.
In addition to performing a comprehensive physical exam, including a pelvic exam, we ask about your medical history to find out if you have any conditions or take any medications that may obstruct your normal sexual response. We also ask about your sexual history, to find out if any events in your past affect how you feel about sex. ;
Effective treatment for one woman may simply mean changing a prescription medication that interferes with natural lubrication, while a woman whos living with the aftereffects of an episiotomy or perineum tear from a recent childbirth may get the best results from physical therapy or surgery.
Hormone replacement therapy , or the supplementation of reproductive hormones that your body no longer makes, has long been the go-to treatment option for menopausal women affected by vaginal dryness and sexual pain.
Although HRT in the form of low-dose topical vaginal estrogen can be highly effective for some women, its a short-term solution that isnt medically appropriate for all women.
How Do You Know If Youre Going Through Premature Menopause
Perhaps youve tried to get pregnant for 12 months or more without success. This alone could be a sign, but its an even stronger indicator if youre around 40 and experiencing any of the above symptoms. However, its important to consult a Doctor for a proper diagnosis of premature menopause because some of the symptoms could be caused by another condition.
Your Doctor is likely to perform a physical exam;and take a blood sample to make sure no other conditions are causing your symptoms. They might book you in to test your estradiol levels. Estradiol is a form of estrogen, and if your levels have dropped below 30, you could be in the menopause prematurely. They will almost certainly conduct a blood test to measure your levels of FSH . If your FSH levels have increased to 40 mIU/mL or above, its a sure-fire sign that your ovaries are not producing as much estrogen as they once were.
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Other Treatments For Painful Sex After Menopause
Pinkerton suggests women also try the following remedies for painful sex after menopause:
- Treat vaginal tissues with a prescription low-dose vaginal estrogen via cream, suppository or ring. This is minimally absorbed, unlike hormone replacement therapy, which goes into the bloodstream. Pinkerton said labels warning of severe health consequences dont apply to these local treatments and should be changed because they scare women away, as this editorial;explains.
- Use an over-the-counter lubricant or moisturizer at least twice a week to maintain a healthy vaginal pH. Use natural products such as coconut oil or olive oil to moisturize the vulva area.
- Use long-lasting silicone-based lubricants during intercourse.
- With or without a partner, have regular stimulation to increase blood flow to the area.
- Women who have not been sexually active for a while should be patient: It can take up to three months to get back to normal.
You May Be Suffering From A Skin Condition
Did you know? Underlying skin conditions can actually cause irritation during sex, and condoms may also cause discomfort or burning, particularly if you have an allergy, explains Datta. If your vagina burns after sex, you may have eczema and other genital skin conditions, such as lichen sclerosis.
Try this: Make sure you visit your GP to get your skin condition defined, if you think you may be suffering. From there, they can help you decide the best course of action, explains Corda.
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How To Deal With Painful Sex In Menopause
MenoLabs News | Mon, Jan 20, 2020
Menopause brings with it many changes in a womans body. You might notice an increase in weight and fat around the abdominal area, you might become moodier and more irritable, you may get less quality sleep, and experience pain during or after sexual intercourse. Painful sex is a very bothersome symptom that has a negative impact on a woman’s quality of life. Find out how you can deal with it.
What Is The Difference Between Menopause Perimenopause And Postmenopause
Menopause: To say that a woman has reached her menopause, her periods should not have occurred for at least 12 months after her last period. Menopause is the time after which her menstrual periods stop permanently, and she can no longer conceive.
Perimenopause : The transition from the beginning of irregular menstrual periods to the last menstrual period is known as perimenopause. Perimenopause usually starts in a woman’s mid- to late 40s and can last anywhere between one to four years before menopause strikes.
Postmenopause: The time after the woman reaches menopause is referred to as postmenopause.
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What Are Some Other Causes For Concern
Not all causes of dyspareunia are due to menopause. If youre experiencing:
- Deep pain upon thrusting
- Stinging or burning
- Throbbing pain that persists hours after sex
It may be a red flag of a more serious underlying issue. Please visit your gynecologist to discuss this and to explore all treatment options.
Dont be shy about getting help. And dont think sexual pain is just part of menopause. Sex should never hurt. Be prepared to answer honestly and openly about your sexual health. You should have your health evaluated. We as gynecologists are here to help you determine the cause of your pain, not to judge or embarrass you. Improving your quality of life and health is our goal.
Causes Treatments And Solutions For Painful Sex
Painful sex is common, but that doesnt mean you should have to put up with it.
This article was medically reviewed by Carolyn Swenson, MD, a member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, on March 26, 2019.
Sex should always feel goodand when its painful, your body could be trying to tell you that something is seriously wrong.
If you felt a sharp pinch, pressure, tightness, soreness, or cramping during your last romp, youre not entirely alone: About 30 percent of women report feeling pain during vaginal intercourse, according to a 2015 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. That number skyrockets to 72 percent during anal sex.
Pain can cause issues outside of the bedroom, too. Pain during sex not only ruins the moment, it can have much greater consequences: fear of sex, lowered sex drive, and overall loss of intimacy, says Debra Herbenick, PhD, a professor, director, and researcher at Indiana Universitys Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
Just because pain is common doesnt mean you should have to put up with it. You might feel awkward speaking up, but youre doing yourself a disservice if you dismiss it.
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