Experiencing the natural changes that accompany menopause does not have to signal the end of sex for a woman. Yes, it is a time of transition that includes many changes; however, there is no need to worry that a woman won’t be able to enjoy sex again.
Education is the first step to a better understanding of the changes experienced while going through the menopausal transition. There is so much information readily available that a woman can research before discussing it with her healthcare provider.
The three things to think about are: understanding the cause of painful sex and finding viable solutions; knowing what you and your partner can do to make sex more pleasurable; and considering natural alternatives to alleviate vaginal discomfort.
What are the Causes of Painful Sex During Menopause?
“The root cause of painful sex is due to a drastic drop in the production of the estrogen hormone, which causes dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls”
The menopausal transition is simply referred to as the change of life. The term for the beginning of the menopausal cycle is called perimenopause and is before a woman ceases to have her period. Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, moodiness, trouble sleeping, night sweats, and sexual dysfunction.
A woman begins menopause after 12 months of not having her period. This stage typically lasts for seven years but can take up to 14 years before moving on to postmenopause. The name for the final stage is called postmenopause and where there is increased concern for the onset of heart disease and osteoporosis. It is important to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get plenty of calcium to avoid osteoporosis.
The root cause of painful sex is due to a drastic drop in the production of the estrogen hormone, which causes dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls. When the fragile vaginal tissue is so dry and thin, sex causes excessive friction and makes it uncomfortable. It is why vaginal tearing and bleeding occurs with penetration, and the reason for the lack of desire to have sex. According to the North American Menopause Society, the medical term for painful sex is dyspareunia.
What You and Your Partner Can Do to Ease the Pain
“A massage is a great way to relax and ease into sex, and foreplay should never be skipped or rushed”
Due to these hormonal changes, a woman’s desire for sex wanes and there’s a need to find new expressive ways to increase libido. Since desire and arousal are two important factors for an enjoyable sexual experience, seeking out other ways to increase desire and stimulate arousal is a learning experience for a woman and her partner. Increasing intimacy and experimenting with alternative ways to enjoy each other are just as gratifying and satisfying as sexual penetration.
Including more foreplay and having open dialogue are two ways of increasing both desire and arousal for a woman. The key is to slow down and appreciate each other while slowly building the intensity. A massage is a great way to relax and ease into sex, and foreplay should never be skipped or rushed. Build anticipation before having sex by engaging in sexy talk. It can be as simple as letting your partner know that kissing turns you on or that you like being touched in a certain way or in a particular spot.
Natural Remedies to Ease Painful Sex During Menopause
“sex does not have to end while a woman is going through the menopausal cycle”
Treatments include topical and oral hormonal therapies to address the issue of low estrogen levels. However, an immediate solution is to relieve the dryness that causes discomfort during sex with a lubricant. Look for water-based lubricants that do not contain glycerin for relieving dryness and increasing comfort during sex. Glycerin-based lubricants can irritate the delicate vaginal tissue.
If traditional oral hormonal therapy is cause for concern, consider taking a natural supplement to help with arousal and desire. Using a good lubricant and a natural supplement is a good place to start before considering traditional hormonal therapy.
The takeaway here is that having sex does not have to end while a woman is going through the menopausal cycle. Along with all the other menopause symptoms, a woman does not have to endure painful sex. Do your homework by researching online and connecting with a support group. Don’t neglect discussing your concerns with your healthcare provider and maintaining good communication with your partner.
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