QUESTION: Sex has become painful now that I am in menopause. What can I do to make it more enjoyable?
ANSWER: Many women experience some discomfort during sexual intercourse around the time of menopause. As estrogen levels decline, the lining of the vagina may become drier and thinner, often leading to burning, itching, or pain during sexual intercourse.
However, there are ways to decrease this discomfort and make sexual activity more enjoyable. Your doctor can help you decide what is best for you to help manage these symptoms. Hormone therapy is the most reliable treatment for menopausal symptoms, particularly for vaginal discomfort. Depending on your personal and family medical history, your doctor may prescribe estrogen (in the lowest effective dose) to help manage your symptoms, including vaginal dryness or discomfort.
If you do not want to take hormone tablets, there are also tablets, rings, and creams containing estrogen that are available for local application to the vagina. Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants can also provide relief from discomfort associated with intercourse. For more please read the Menopause and Sex article.
ANSWER: Women frequently ask what symptoms they can anticipate during menopause. In reality, each woman experiences menopause differently. While one woman is certain that insomnia is a symptom of menopause for her, another is certain that joint aches are her primary symptom of menopause. Doctors are not even able to tell women what to expect because research into the symptoms of menopause has not yet established just how menopause causes many of the symptoms. For example, medical science cannot explain how the declining hormone levels of menopause could cause joint aches.Menopause is not a disease but a natural transition, yet many of the symptoms of menopause also may be caused by diseases. We are not always certain which symptoms are due to menopause, and women differ in their symptoms. How, then, do we decide when women undergoing menopause need treatment in the first place? The same pattern of hot flashes in two different women can have a very different psychological impact. For one woman, they can disturb her daily functioning greatly, but for another, they may hardly be bothersome. For more, please read the Menopause article.
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