Though pregnancy and childbirth end with menopause, the enjoyment of sex should not. Yet, the loss of estrogen production when the ovaries shut down often causes changes in your body and mind that alter your sexual response, resulting in painful sex.
Our team at Southeast Urogyn provides effective solutions delivered with discretion and sensitivity to help you once again enjoy fulfilling intimacy. We can customize our treatments to meet your needs, because every woman has her own postmenopause experience.
The decrease in estrogen levels in the postmenopausal period affects the tissue of the vaginal lining both inside and out.
The degree to which these changes emerge varies widely among women. Some may notice little difference while others experience a wide range of symptoms affecting both the vagina and urinary tract. This is called vaginal atrophy or the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) when urinary function is compromised.
Painful sex may result from a variety of symptoms. Among the most common are:
- Genital burning or itching sensations
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of natural lubrication during sexual arousal
- Vaginal discharge
- Changes to the vaginal canal
- Discomfort or pain during or after intercourse
- Light bleeding after sex
Since sexual arousal is at least as much mental as physical, pain may interfere with your desire for intimacy, further aggravating some of your symptoms.
When urinary symptoms like frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs), urinary incontinence, and burning when you pee accompany painful sex and vaginal changes, there’s a possibility that the problem is GSM.
The cause of your symptoms
Beneath the surface of vaginal tissue, you have a support layer including a matrix made of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Your skin has a similar anatomy. Changes in estrogen balance can cause volume loss from the collagen matrix, robbing vaginal tissue of support.
Components of this support layer attract and trap moisture, so as the effects of decreased estrogen take hold, increasing dryness is a potential result. These changes may also cause an increase in vaginal infections due to changes in the pH environment inside the vagina.
Treatments for painful sex
The link between postmenopause and painful sex is real even though it doesn’t affect women equally. For some, water-based lubricants or vaginal moisturizers may be enough to overcome discomfort or pain.
When these aren’t enough, consult with our painful sex specialists at Southeast Urogyn for prescription topical estrogen products as a next step. Other forms of hormone therapy could prove helpful when you have other postmenopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Treatments that stimulate renewal of the collagen layer in vaginal walls have the advantage of being hormone-free, a priority if you’ve previously been treated for breast cancer. MonaLisa Touch® and Co2re® Intima use medical lasers to trigger collagen renewal, restoring the function of the vaginal walls and their mucosal layer, essential for moisture production.
Your best treatment may be as unique as you are. Call our nearest location, in Madison or Flowood, Mississippi, to schedule an exam and consultation. Break the link between postmenopause and painful sex by booking your appointment today.