Workable Ways to Ease Painful Sex During Menopause

Sex is hurtful during menopause due to a lack of estrogen. This hormone normally stimulates the release of natural lubricants and helps replenish the vaginal lining through the growth of new cells. As you reach menopause, your body deliberately produces limited estrogen. Lacking estrogen, the vaginal lining thins shrinks, and dries out. It also becomes less elastic. The doctor calls this condition “vulvovaginal atrophy”. When the tissues in the vagina are thin, penetration can become painful. Painful sexual intercourse is called dyspareunia. 

During menopause, your body undergoes numerous physical changes, many of which can have an impact on sexual intercourse. These changes are primarily caused by shifting hormone levels, particularly a decrease in the amount of estrogen produced by your ovaries. Menopause can cause physical changes such as gradual weight gain, thinning hair, and vulvovaginal atrophy, which causes dryness, itching, and pain. 

Painful Vaginal Intercourse – Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia, the term for painful vaginal intercourse, is very common. Estimates vary, but surveys of postmenopausal women not receiving hormone therapy report dyspareunia in as many as 20 to 30 percent. It is often broken down into three categories: superficial pain, deep pain, or both. Most women complain of superficial pain that occurs during vaginal penetration. Often the pain is sharp or burning. Deep pain happens due to deep penetration  and it can also be due to thrusting. In some women, dyspareunia is temporary. For others, it can become chronic. After menopause, painful intercourse is frequently correlated with modifications due to decreased estrogen statuses. Vaginal tissues tend to come to be less elastic, more unstable, and more prone to bleeding, tearing, or wounds during sexual activity or during a pelvic exam. 

4 Reasons Why Sex is Painful During Menopause 

Low Estrogen

Painful intercourse after menopause is frequently associated with changes caused by low estrogen production. During sexual activity or pelvic tests, the vaginal tissues become less elastic, more fragile, and more prone to bleeding, tearing, or pain. It can make sex difficult, if not impossible. Estrogen deficiency can cause urinary problems, which can make sex uncomfortable. Sexual inactivity contributes to tissue health and elasticity loss.

Pelvic floor dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common condition in which you are unable to correctly relax and coordinate your pelvic floor muscles to urinate or have a bowel movement. If you’re a woman, you might experience pain during sex, and if you’re a man, you might have trouble getting or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED). Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles located in the base of your pelvis (the bottom of your torso).

Low Libido 

 There are numerous reasons why you may have a low sex drive (loss of libido). When the libido is low women tend to show less interest in sex. It is quite natural with time and many experience reduction in their libido level Low libido for an extended period, on the other hand, may cause concern for some people and can also affect the relationship.  Low libido level also sometimes indicate serious health issues

Tissue Damage 

When a person is injured, the body responds by repairing the damaged tissue, which results in the formation of scar tissue. Some women report pain in the area of hard skin formed during surgery or childbirth. Because the tissue around your vaginal opening is thinner after menopause, these scars may hurt a little more.

4 Workable Ways to Ease Painful Sex During Menopause 

1. Lubricants To The Rescue 

These products may be the first treatment you try to avoid pain during sex. Lubricants, which is available in liquid or gel form, can help with mild dryness. Lubricants alleviate pain by reducing friction. You apply them to your vagina or your partner’s penis just before having sex. If you are not completely in menopause or if you use condoms with your partner, you may need to use a water-based lubricant. Oil-based lubricants can harm condoms and make them less effective.

2. Don’t Skip Foreplay

A quickie may no longer work for you if you are in pre- or postmenopausal, the more foreplay you have, the better the act will turn out to be. It stimulates the [vaginal] tissue. Similarly, it may help you rethink your definition of sex. If you find that intercourse is painful due to dryness, you may find that oral sex (which is still sex) is more pleasurable and allows you to be intimate with your partner.

3. Low-dose Topical Estrogen

For more serious dryness and hurt that doesn’t enhance with a moisturizer or lubricant, your gynaecologist may prescribe low-dose topical estrogen. Estrogen enhances the density and flexibility of vaginal tissues and boosts blood flow. Because the hormone gets on directly into the vagina, it forgoes some of the body-wide side consequences of estrogen pills. Estrogen arrives in a lotion, tablet, flexible ring, or insert. 

4. Estrogen Pills 

 Your doctor may prescribe estrogen pills as a form of hormone replacement therapy in some cases. Typically, women will only take estrogen pills if other treatments, such as lubricants and topical creams, have failed to alleviate their symptoms. Other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, may be relieved by estrogen pills. Only women who have had a hysterectomy are given estrogen-only pills. In other cases, your doctor may prescribe estrogen-progestin pills to reduce your chances of developing uterine cancer. Hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke during menopause. If you’re taking estrogen pills, make sure to see your doctor regularly.

Hormone changes are the most common cause of pain during menopause. Menopause-related estrogen deficiency is the leading cause of sex pain in midlife and beyond. Hormonal changes cause the tissues in your vagina to thin and dry. During sex, dryness can cause friction. Your vagina also stretches less, making it feel constricted. Pain causes fear and worry – You may be afraid of having painful sex again. Fear can cause muscle tension and dryness. A medical issue – Other causes, such as chronic pain syndrome in the vulva, and the area around the entrance to your vagina, may be to blame. 

Hema Gayatri

Zenith Buzz Editor

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