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Is Sex Painful? You May Need an Estrogen Replacement

Is Sex Painful? You May Need an Estrogen Replacement

If you’re a woman, estrogen dominates the hormone mix in your body through your reproductive years. As you approach menopause, your ovaries decrease their estrogen output, triggering plenty of changes throughout your body. 

Each woman’s experience is unique. Some suffer few symptoms, while others have many. Effects can be mild or severe. As many as 30% of American women may experience dyspareunia, or pain during intercourse, as a side effect of menopause. 

Our doctors at Southeast Urogyn specialize in the treatment of painful sex, including conditions related to menopause. In many cases, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for low levels of estrogen may be your best solution. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why sex becomes painful after menopause

The primary reason for discomfort and pain during vaginal intercourse after menopause relates to the changes in vaginal lining. Without the support of estrogen, vaginal tissue becomes thin and less elastic. It’s no longer able to resist tears and bleeding for some women. 

The associated pain makes many patients shy away from intimate times. 

Other reasons for painful sex

Low estrogen levels aren’t the only reason why intercourse may be uncomfortable. Childbirth or injury may play a role, or you might have a skin condition that contributes to the problem. Some medications, including high blood pressure and antidepressant treatments, can cause vaginal dryness as a side effect. 

Emotional and psychological factors can prevent the relaxation necessary for arousal. Pelvic conditions like endometriosis and uterine fibroids can also interfere with sexual performance. 

To pinpoint low estrogen as a primary cause, you need a full examination to rule out other factors. Sometimes, the presence of urinary system problems supports a low estrogen diagnosis. 

Hormone replacement therapy

Supplementing your body’s natural but reduced level of estrogen is often a successful approach that restores the condition of vaginal walls. After the use of non-medicinal lubricants, the most conservative treatment is low-dose estrogen, typically in the form of a cream, vaginal suppository, or vaginal ring. 

When you have other menopause symptoms, particularly severe hot flashes, systemic HRT may be beneficial for both conditions. This can take the form of pills or subcutaneous pellets. 

Treatment alternatives

While estrogen replacement has a high success rate for treating dyspareunia, you do have other options. 

If there are medical reasons that prevent the use of HRT, we may offer these other options. The MonaLisa Touch® and CO2RE® Intima laser systems deliver collagen induction by way of laser light as a drug-free alternative to estrogen replacement.

Schedule a consultation with us at Southeast Urogyn for a thorough examination and diagnosis. Contact our nearest office directly to make an appointment. We’re located in Madison and Flowood, Mississippi. There’s no reason to tolerate painful sex, so call now.

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