Postmenopausal Sexual Health: What Every Postmenopausal Woman Should Know
Feb 13, 2014 - 4:16:45 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Some may think sex ends after a certain age, but that's far from true. Studies show more than half of women (62 percent) aged 57-64 are sexually active and have sex at least 2 or 3 times a month. The fact is every woman will experience menopause in their lifetime, but many women feel reluctant or uncomfortable discussing sexual health challenges they may be experiencing as a result of the menopausal transition. As such, it's important for postmenopausal women to get the information they need.
As a board certified OBGYN, here are a few facts and tips I think are important for every postmenopausal woman to know:
- All women experience menopause: It is a time of natural change in a woman's life when her menstrual cycle ends, typically around age 51. The ovaries produce less estrogen, which is a female hormone that can cause changes in the body. These changes typically start during and continue after menopause or "postmenopause."
- Symptoms of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy: While most postmenopausal women are aware of hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, fewer know about the symptoms of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy such as vaginal burning, itching and dryness, increased urgency in urination and painful urination. These symptoms can make sex painful.
- You're not alone. If you're experiencing one or more of these vaginal symptoms, you're not alone! In fact, at least one-third of women experience some vaginal symptoms after menopause. Although postmenopausal vaginal atrophy is not a life-threatening condition, it is a problem for many women, and you can talk to your doctor about it. It's important for you to be open and honest with your healthcare professional and partner so they understand what's going on.
- How to start the conversation: Postmenopausal vaginal atrophy is a treatable, medical condition. By describing your vaginal symptoms in detail during your office visit, you can get the treatment you need and help find relief. Your annual exam is a great time to discuss your symptoms, but you don't have to wait until then. Talk with your doctor about the symptoms you're experiencing and ask about available treatment options. Here are a few ways to initiate the conversation:
- I have some questions about symptoms that I have been experiencing lately.
- I've been experiencing some vaginal discomfort since menopause, and I'm wondering if there is anything I can do about it.
- I sometimes forget to take or apply medications as the doctor has told me. Is there a convenient treatment option I can try?
- Alleviate symptoms and find treatment: There are a number of FDA approved treatment options for women focused on treating their postmenopausal vaginal symptoms, including creams, tablets and a ring.
Once you take the first step and start discussing your vaginal symptoms, you may be one step closer to finding a treatment option that works for you!
Dr. Tara Allmen, MD, is a board certified OBGYN and Nationally Certified Menopause Practitioner in New York City.
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