This is a subject that rears its ugly head, usually after it’s occurred. During perimenopause and beyond, our vagina can begin to feel dryer, painful during sex, and it can even be uncomfortable the rest of the time.
Talking extremes, dryness in that area can spread from inside to outside, the complete vulva area, so the lips themselves can feel like sandpaper. For a small percentage of women, it can even be too painful to wear underwear and/or trousers. The other end of the spectrum of women suffer no dryness whatsover.
Of course, the cause is decreasing oestrogen, which keeps the vagina healthy by acting as a natural lubricant. It stimulates good bacteria to protect the vagina from infections. The lack of oestrogen means that vaginal tissue may become thin, which prevents it from expanding so easily during intercourse, potentially making it very painful. Discharge may occur due to the balance of bacteria changing inside the vagina and this can sometimes be smelly. Bladder or urinary infections can occur for the same reason.
It’s not brilliant news, is it? This is why I bang on about preparing for perimenopause and in this instance, there’s one remedial activity that can make a huge difference. DRINK WATER! Because oestrogen feeds our mucus membranes, wherever they occur in the body, when it decreases, these can become dry, less elastic, brittle (in regard to ligaments and tendons). But drinking plenty of water, not tea, coffee or fruit juice, but good old-fashioned water, will help enormously. I’m not saying it’s the be-all and end-all, but you wouldn’t believe what a saviour this inoffensive clear liquid is. You don’t have to guzzle. Just gentle sips throughout the day is all it takes.
Avoid AVOID over-the-counter sprays, washes and creams to clean this very sensitive area of you. They’re full of chemicals and could exacerbate any problems you’re having down there.
So here are some ideas. If you take HRT, it can really help this particular problem, but if that’s not enough, or you’re not on it, you can get oestrogen gel or cream for the area. Now this has been shown to work extremely well and the good news is, it doesn’t enter the bloodstream and doesn’t have the associated risks. You can also use it for a long time with no worries at all. Of course, you’ll get this through a doctor or menopause specialist. There are natural vaginal moisturisers, non-hormone creams that keep the tissues hydrated and help you to remain lubricant during sex. The best makes are said to be YES, Sylk and Regelle, all of which can be bought online or over the counter. Do your homework! Absolutely NO chemicals. The balance down there is extremely delicate and you must, therefore, treat it as gently as possible.
Get this right and there’s no need for you not to have a full and healthy sex life for ever. If you’d like to chat about how to reconnect with your partner, or for help in explaining to them what’s going on for you, please let me know.
It’s all about you and your happiness!
I’m not a qualified clinician, dietician, or psychologist. I write based only on my own experiences and research into menopause. J Wood