Vaginal dryness a little talked about subject…
I remember a while ago when I suggested to the host of a radio show I co hosted, that I wanted to talk about vaginal dryness, he seemed quite uncomfortable about it. Unfortunately that is true for many healthcare practitioners. Many fail to ask their patient if they have any issues and so many women suffer in silence. Only 15% of healthcare practitioners ask their patients about atrophy, even though most women would like to be asked about their sexual health. An estimated 50% of post menopausal women are affected with vaginal atrophy and only 7% are receiving prescription treatment. Vaginal dryness makes women feel old interferes, with quality of life, and has a negative effect on a woman’s sex life.
So the fact it is not if but when you will experience vaginal dryness during menopause.
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There are many causes of vaginal dryness, menopause, medications, contraceptives, antibiotics, vaginitis, atrophy and autoimmune diseases and diabetes. A large percentage of women will develop vaginal problems such as dryness and changes in acidity and a decrease in natural bacteria, yeast infections and a decrease in the natural protective enzyme action, and changes in vaginal fluid and lubrication as they age.
Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include dryness burning, itching, painful sex, bleeding with intercourse, recurrent urinary tract infections and urinary frequency. These issues worsen over time and are not limited to women that are sexually active.
Natural non hormonal remedies include natural coconut oil, sea buckthorn oil probiotics; most vegetable oils, various lubricants are available for use as needed with intercourse. Moisturisers are available for long term use of vaginal atrophy such as Replens, Pre-Meno, avoid products containing propylene glycol and parabens.
Hormonal estrogen is also available from a practitioner on prescription. Despite concerns of cancer vaginal estrogen is very low dose and not systemically absorbed to any extent and is considered safe for most women. It is available in the form of creams, rings and tablets. Estradiol and estrone is available in North America. However estriol which has been shown to be more effective for urinary issues is available from your compounding pharmacist.
Lifestyle modifications are smoking cessation and increased sexual activity. Sounds like a good recommendation!
So talk to your health care practitioner about your sexual health today.
Irene Stronczak-Hogan B.Pharm. Hons., RPh, NCMP
National Certified Menopause Practitioner
Nutrition, Natural Medicine & Anti-Aging Specialist
Professional Compounding Pharmacist
I am the author of the upcoming book Hot Chixs Hot Sex How to Survive Menopause. As a pharmacist and menopause practitioner I help women get from hot bothered and flashy to calm cool but still sassy. I have an integrative menopausal practice that uses lifestyles nutrition stress management supplements and hormones to balance and restore women’s sleep energy weight mood and sex drive. Website.