Painful Sex in the Menopause: A Sensitive Subject
You might find that your body experiences some pain before, during and after sex. This is because of so many hormonal changes occurring within, especially as we journey from perimenopause into the menopause.
Why do we experience painful sex during the menopause?
In the menopause, our oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate and fall, which affects the natural lubrication produced by the glands in the cervix and keeps moisture moving down into the vagina. This moisture is what keeps the vagina clean and healthy. Its slightly acidic profile works to remove dead cells to prevent infections. As our hormone levels lessen in menopause, the vaginal lining gradually becomes light pink in colour, thinner in appearance and physically less elastic and moist, which means painful friction during sexual intercourse.
Vaginal soreness and painful sex
Painful sex feels very uncomfortable due to a loss of lubrication which means the skin around the vagina can be damaged more easily, due to more friction during intercourse. Painful sex isn't really something we desire and so we tend to crave intercourse less which can trigger a lack of self confidence, especially in our sexuality. This naturally causes fear within us, not just about experiencing pain, but also from the worry, stress and frustration that we, and most likely our partner, feel. This fear can tighten vaginal muscles and add even more dryness, which further contributes to painful sex
What else can help with painful sex?
It is important to know that painful sex will subside once your hormones settle down and your internal rhythm finds its new flow. The most nourishing act you can perform to help yourself is to keep an open and clear communication with your partner, so you can be on a supportive journey together, as much as possible.
Popular remedies for painful sex
- Use natural lubricants like coconut oil for sexual intercourse.
- Avoid perfumed soaps as they can cause vaginal dryness
- Use vaginal gels/creams to treat vaginal skin soreness from painful sex
- Find pleasure in other forms of intimacy with your partner
- Take more time for foreplay before sexual intercourse, to produce more lubrication
- Consider taking vitamin supplements such as sea buckthorn oil, Vitamin E, zinc and magnesium
- Consume plant based foods that contain naturally occurring hormones like soya and flaxseeds to increase oestrogen levels and sweet potato to increase progesterone levels
If you are finding that your symptoms are really starting to be troublesome, do speak to your GP or healthcare practitioner who will be able to advise about other treatments.
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