As estrogen declines during menopause, the skin that lines the vaginal 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, vaginal dryness can worsen with time. But effective treatment exists!
What can you do?
Locally applied estrogen (cream, tablet, or ring) 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 causes vaginal dryness during menopause?
As it turns out, estrogen is responsible for a lot. One of its jobs is to keep your skin smooth, supple, and firm. That includes the skin that lines your vaginal walls. During perimenopause and menopause, your estrogen levels drop and your vaginal walls become less thin and less elastic. They also become less lubricated. Fun!
What can I expect?
Vaginal dryness can be really, really uncomfortable, especially during sex. Light friction can be very painful, and in some cases, intercourse can cause your vaginal walls to bruise or even tear.
This is not one of those things that will get better with time. While hot flashes and night sweats don’t last forever, vaginal dryness can get worse.
Ugh. Is it normal?
Yes. About 56% of menopausal women experience vaginal dryness, so chances are, it’s going to happen to you. While it’s unpleasant and it hurts, you’re not alone.
Is there anything I can do about vaginal dryness?
The most important thing you can do is talk about it. Seriously. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. As we mentioned above, more than half of menopausal women experience painful sex or vaginal dryness.
We’d also like to bust one myth right now: this isn’t a “use it or lose” it situation. You totally didn’t do anything to cause this.
Vaginal dryness is treatable, which is yet another reason to talk about it! With your partner, with your doctor, with anyone! Maybe not anyone. But you get it. Locally applied estrogen can help your body start to create its own natural lubrication, and it can help strengthen your vaginal walls, making them smooth, supple, and firm once again. This can come in cream, tablet, or ring form, and, here’s a stat for you: a year’s supply of vaginal estrogen cream contains less estrogen than just one birth control pill.