Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Menopause and Pain on Intercourse

Menopause causes the ovaries to decline in function.  Hormones diminish, and this includes estrogen, progestin, and testosterone.  Since a woman's body is complex, there are a multitude of symptoms that can result.

I have noticed, for example, that a postmenopausal woman can be talking to me at night, and indeed let's make that a ~ cool ~ night with a breeze.  Her upper lip and forehead are covered with sweat.  In fact, her upper eyebrows and neck glisten in the moonlight.  I ask (during our conversation on menopause), "Do you get hot flashes?"

She says, "No, I never get hot flashes."

So I ask, "Do you have pain with intercourse?"  Well, no big response there.  I persist, "Do you enjoy sex?"  She scoffs, "I could take it or leave it.  I just have sex to make my husband happy, but if it was up to me, I wouldn't even have sex.  And I would not miss it."  She smiles ever so gently.  

So I back up again, "Well, why don't you enjoy it?"  She thinks.  She hesitates.  I wait, patiently.  "Well, I guess that it just doesn't feel good."  

Results are in from Menopause, The Blog, which you can Click Here to Read.  While millions of women in the USA may have vaginal atrophy from a decrease of estrogen production after menopause, only about an estimated 7% are getting treatment.  This is simply astounding to me!  

It could be that a woman does not realize that she has vaginal dryness.  The change could have happened so gradually that she does not realize that she actually has pain on intercourse, or dyspareunia.  Other women say without hesitation that "It feels like a knife blade", to have sex with their husbands.  So let's just step back a moment and realize that vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy, and pain on intercourse ~ all these things can happen.  It's ok.  

We just need to realize, like the perspiring woman who says she does not get hot flashes, that our bodies are changing. We need to continue to be attuned to our bodies, as we can spend fully one-third of our lives in menopause.  So we'd better get 'good' at being IN menopause, yes?  Let's do!


Other Articles by Dr. Margaret Aranda

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