Vaginal pain is often a fact of life for the post menopausal woman. But it doesn't have to be.
Help for Vaginal Pain
Loss of estrogen
At menopause your body produces less estrogen. When estrogen levels are low, the vagina can become drier and its walls get thinner. This can result in such problems as burning, itching, frequent infections and pain—pain sometimes severe enough to feel that your vaginal walls are about tear open during intercourse. When this happens, it's important to stop intercourse at once. Never try to tough it out. Delicate vaginal skin can indeed tear and even become infected, resulting in more severe problems and difficult solutions.
Consult your gynecologist or primary doctor—soon!
Some women are too embarrassed to discuss their pain with their doctor. Others think vaginal problems are an unavoidable part of growing older, and they just have to grit their teeth and bear it. They don't. Post menopausal vaginal pain can usually be successfully treated. But the longer you wait, the harder it may be to repair the damage.
Problems and treatments include:
Atrophy, or thinning of vaginal walls
Topical estrogen vaginal cream applied directly to vagina and its opening. Available by prescription.
Chronic inflammation of the urethra (tube through which urine exits the body)
Dilation of the urethra, low-dose antibiotics, and/or antidepressants.
Vaginal lubricants, and/or more extensive foreplay during sexual relations.
Painful muscle spasms at vaginal opening
Behavior therapy, including vaginal relaxation exercises.
Abnormal vaginal narrowing: (Common after pelvic surgery, radiation or menopause.)
Passive dilation and/or estrogen.
Why bother about your sexual health
About sex, can we really lose it if we don't use it? The short answer is "Yes." Here's what happens when a woman stops having orgasms. Over time, her body will decrease her flow of sex hormones. She'll feel less aroused and therefore less interested in having sex. Best guess result? Less sex, eventually diminishing to none at all.
Why is this so bad? Because today's research shows that, in addition to sexual pleasure, a healthy sex life also results in reduced stress, lower blood pressure, improved immunity, improved cardiovascular health, and more.