As estrogen declines during menopause, the skin that lines the vagina walls can start to thin, and your body’s natural lubrication starts to decrease. This means that even light friction can feel like sandpaper, and the thin, fragile, less elastic walls can bruise and tear during intercourse.
Is this normal?
More than half of menopausal women report experiencing painful sex or vaginal dryness during menopause. If left untreated, painful sex can worsen with time. But we’re here to tell you effective treatment exists!
What can you do?
Locally applied estrogen in cream form can reinstate your body’s ability to create natural lubrication and strengthen your vaginal walls, returning it to its strong, supple, elastic self.
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What’s the deal with painful sex during menopause?
Sex is definitely not supposed to be painful. But, thanks to menopause, and specifically, thanks to a decline in estrogen levels, it can be.
Basically, estrogen has a ton of jobs. One of its jobs is to keep our skin smooth, supple, and firm...and we’re not just talking about faces. The skin that lines the vaginal walls also relies on estrogen. As estrogen levels decline, it becomes thin, fragile, and less elastic. Your body’s natural lubrication also decreases, leading to vaginal dryness.
That’s not great for sex. The lack of lubrication makes it so that any amount of friction can feel like sandpaper. It’s possible for your vaginal walls to bruise, or even tear, during intercourse. Ugh.
Um, is that normal?
It’s definitely normal. Stat check: 64% of postmenopausal women say they find sex painful. So, even though it’s uncomfortable, it hurts, and is a total vibe killer, it’s really, really normal. That’s the good news.
So, what’s the bad news?
The bad news is that it can worsen with time. Hot flashes and night sweats are pretty bad, but they tend to get better as time goes on. This may not.
More good news now, please.
Sure thing. Painful sex is treatable. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a “use it or lose it” situation.
Locally applied estrogen (this can come in cream, tablet, or ring form) can help your body create its own natural lubrication and strengthen your vaginal walls. And, fun fact: a whole year’s worth of vaginal estrogen cream contains less estrogen than one tiny birth control pill.
If sex has become painful, talk to your partner and your doctor. You’re totally not alone, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.