Relationships / Vaginal Dryness
Menopause is nature's original contraceptive. But, it is important to wait a
full year after menopause (you're *in* menopause when you've had no period for 12 consecutive months) before giving up contraceptives. During menopause, the thinning of the mucos membrances, along with a loss of elasticity in the
walls of the vagina, causes an uncomfortable sensation of dryness in many
women. The thinning of the vaginal lining results from the ovaries' decreased
production of estrogen. This thinning does not always cause problems, but it
can be painful if the lining of the vagina becomes inflamed, dry, and rough.
Estrogen creams and pills are the common allopathic solution for this
problem, but these products have serious risks and should be used with
caution and awareness.
Remember, first and foremost, as you're getting older that many think of sex
as penile-vaginal intercourse. Sex is defined differently by different people and schools of thought. Some say, sex can be anything designed to bring a woman to orgasm, yet many women claim to have satisfying sex without always experiencing orgasm -- even though the ideal for most is to reach orgasm. Oral or manual stimulation need not be thought of as the means to lubricate for genital intercourse. They can be a means to orgasm by themselves. A woman's same age partner may be having trouble with his
erection and also appreciated broadening the definition of sex.
Though the medical name, atrophic vaginitis, makes this
situation seem as if it is a disease, it is not. It can be remedied with simple remedies, loving
care and understanding. Above all, follow a good solid nutritional program
during your menopause years. This, more than anything, will help prevent the
vagina from becoming overly dry and thin.
Sexual desire is often diminished by experiences with perimenopause, but it
is often restored when these conditions subside.
Vaginal dryness and the thinning of genital tissue can lead to discomfort
during sexual intercourse and masturbation. Over-the-counter, water- soluble
vaginal lubricants may be helpful. Estrogen replacement creams are available
Menopause is nature's original contraceptive. But it is important to wait a
full year after menopause before giving up contraceptives. Also, menopause is
no protection against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are always
necessary during sexual intercourse if you or your sex partner have more than
Using the Pill during perimenopause may mask menopause because periodic
bleeding will continue. Women who use the Pill can have their hormone levels
checked to be sure that menopause has been reached.
Helpful Power Surge Hints For Treating Thinning and Dry Vaginal Walls
How to lubricate yourself with various oils and lubricants:
- First and foremost, drink at least two quarts of water and/or herbal tea
- Secondly, exercise the PC muscle (pubococcygeus) or Do Kegel Exercises
- One of the fringe benefits of using soy isoflavones with genistein and
daidzein, aka phytoestrogens / natural plant estrogens, is that they can
eliminate vaginal dryness in many women because isoflavones have estrogenic
effects without the risk of estrogen therapy. The most concentrated form is Revival Soy Protein.
- Add some oil to your diet. Doing something as simplistic as swallowing one
tablespoon of oil (Canola, olive, sunflower, soybean) daily will add
lubrication to your body. Dryness, not only vaginal, is one of menopausal
women's biggest offenders Doctors may not suggest these simple and very
workable methods. They don't require prescriptions.
- Another thing you may want to try is applying 1/2 teaspoon of natural
progesterone cream intravaginally once a day. You can get more info about
where to get it from the Web site's Recommendations page, plus there's a wealth
of information about NP on the Web site in the Reading Room and in the
hundreds of Guest Transcript Library. NP should provide lubrication without
causing yeast infections. It's often dryness itself that causes painful
- Naturally compounded estrogen can be helpful in restoring moisture when vaginal dryness occurs during peri and postmenopause.
- Testosterone Supplementation: Creams, Gels, Pellets, Capsules. Some women
prefer to use testosterone supplementation. Remember, a woman needs only a
very small dose of prescription testosterone. HRT, such as Estratest,
contains too high a dose of testosterone (Dr. Susan Rako, author of The
Hormone of Desire). You can E.mail Belmar Pharmacy , Power Surge's
pharmaceutical consultant for more information on testosterone
supplementation for vaginal dryness or to enhance libido often diminished
during the menopause process and for any information regarding "naturally
compounded" or "bio-identical" hormones.
- Take 600-800 I.U. of vitamin E daily - in doses of 200 IU at a time -- not
the megadoses you see on the health food store shelves. A menopausal woman
shouldn't be using 1,000 IU's of vitamin E at a time and doesn't even need
that much over the course of a day. In this case, more isn't better. Before
taking supplemental vitamin E, consult your physician if you're being treated
for hypertension, diabetes or a rheumatic heart. Under these circumstances,
doses should be limited to small amounts, such as 50-150 IU, depending on your health condition. You can read more about vitamin E on the recommendations page.
- You can insert a vitamin E capsule intravaginally for lubrication and to ease the pain of dryness. No need to break open the capsule; the pH of your body will do the job. This is one of the least
expensive, most natural and effective ways of treating vaginal dryness. Just check the outer coating of the capsule first to make sure there are no sharp areas, so that you don't scratch the vaginal area when inserting. You can also cut open the capsule and place the vitamin E oil in the palm of your hand, then put some on your finger and insert it into your vagina. Again, make sure you have no nails that are sharp which might cause scratching or irritation.
- Over the counter natural progesterone creams help some women, or low doses of prescription natural, micronized progesterone cream. Many of the archived Newsletters in the Reading Room have much information about natural progesterone, plus there are articles on progesterone in the Educate Your Body area of the site.
- Always lubricate yourself before having intercourse. You can try Replens,
which is made specifically for that purpose. It's excellent as well as other lubricating products, such as Astroglide, Probe, Gyne-Moistrin and the old standby, K-Y Jelly. Condoms pretreated with Nonoxynol-9 will also add some slippery enhancement. There's also cocoa butter, coconut oil, and other fruit or vegetable oils such as almond oil and apricot oil also make nice natural lubricants.
- Taking vitamin A orally is very helpful for dryness in general.
Add some oil to your diet. Doing something as simplistic as swallowing one
tablespoon of oil (Canola, olive, sunflower, soybean) daily will add
lubrication to your body. Dryness, not only vaginal, is one of a menopausal
woman's biggest offenders Doctors may not suggest these simple and very
workable methods. They don't require prescriptions.
- Alura™ - For Building Intimacy: Sexual desire and response are frequently diminished during perimenopause due to the fluctuation and decline of hormones, but one's intimate relationships can be enhanced with various remedies. According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 40% of American women experience some sort of sexual dissatisfaction and sexual issues frequently become more apparent when perimenopause sets in. For more information about obtaining Alura™, E.mail one of our consulting pharmacists, Belmar Pharmacy. In May, 2001, Oprah's Magazine, "O", touted ALURA™ as a pleasure-heightening, sensation-enhancing cream.
- There are numerous lubricating gels available on the market. Always lubricate yourself before having intercourse. You can try Replens, which is made specifically for that purpose. There's Astroglide, Probe, Gyne-Moistrin. Condoms pretreated with Nonoxynol-9 will also add some slippery enhancement. There's also cocoa butter, coconut oil, and other fruit or vegetable oils such as almond oil and apricot oil also make natural lubricants.
- Aloe vera/slippery elm paste is often used to soothe and lubricate an
inflamed, dry vagina. Mix enough slippery elm powder into some aloe vera gel
to form a thick paste. Apply inside the lips and up into the vagina. It will
feel very cool and soothing.
- Black cohosh can be helpful in relieving not only hot flashes, headaches, but
vaginal dryness and more.
- Chasteberry (Vitex), ginseng, dong quai and evening primrose oil can be
helpful as well. Licorice root should be approached cautiously. Be careful
using licorice root if you have high blood pressure. Licorice can cause your
blood pressure to rise.
- Another natural lubricant is saliva. Yours or his. A midlife or older woman's
times ability to lubricate is not gone, it simply takes longer and requires
more stimulation. Manual works fine. The woman or her partner can do it. Oral
works better and faster. It can take 45 minutes to an hour. It is not a quick
solution, but if a woman needs longer to become lubricated, she needs about
the same amount of time to become aroused and her clitoris erect for orgasm.
To shorten the time needed by using one of the replacements might be
synonymous with having sex for a partner's pleasure primarily.
Put a big glob, about the size of a nickel, on the tip of the index finger.
Reapply whenever needed. Start by spreading both the inner and outer lips of
the vulva with the finger, lubricating as you go. If there is any tissue
sticking together, gently rub the finger with the lube in the center of the
two lips while pulling back on the outermost lip at the same time. Make
certain sure the area between inner and outer lips and between the inner lips
is lubed. Then, starting at the vaginal opening make a circular upward
spiraling inside the vagina. Also, instead of or addition to the vaginal
application, grease the penis up.
You can connect with Power Surge Pharmaceutical Consultant, Belmar Pharmacy, very knowledgeable about menopause.
You can call them at 800-525-9473, or E.mail Belmar Pharmacy directly. You'll find his toll-free number is on the Resources list on the Web site. You can also them him questions directly in the Ask Power Surge's Pharmacist area.
WHAT IS A KEGEL?
A kegel is the name of a pelvic floor exercise, named after Dr. Kegel who
discovered the exercise. These muscles are attached to the pelvic bone and
act like a hammock, holding in your pelvic organs. To try and isolate these
muscles trying stopping and starting the flow of urine.
WHY SHOULD I WANT TO DO KEGELS EXERCISES?
Kegeling provides many benefits. The exercises help firm up the vaginal
canal, control urine flow (for incontinence problems), tighten and relax the
muscles you use to stop urination and enhance orgasm.
Sexual enjoyment is enhanced for both partners
It can prevent prolapses of pelvic organs
It can help prevent leaking urine when you sneeze or cough
HOW DO I DO THE EXERCISE?
Once you have located the muscles simply tighten and relax the mucsle over
and over, about 200 times a day. These are basic kegels. There are many
variations on kegels: elevator kegels (Where you tighten slowly, in
increments going in and out, like an elevator stopping on several floors.),
you can hold the muscle tightened for five seconds, you can bulge the muscles
out at the end, and many other variations.
Kegel exercises help firm up the vaginal canal, control urine flow (for
incontinence problems), tighten and relax the muscles you use to stop
urination and enhance orgasm.
SIMPLE KEGEL EXERCISES:
Do at least five Kegels in a row several times a day:
Tighten a little -- count five
Tighten a little more -- count five
As hard as possible -- count five
Relax in reverse steps, counting five at each step
Other recommendations -- homeopathic or herbal methodolgy of treating vaginal
dryness might be tincture of Motherwort 10 drops twice a day. You can also
take tincture of Dong Quoi, 25 drops a day ( or use the caplets), but don't
use Dong Quoi if you have fibroid tumors.
Chat with other women about sexual libido and vaginal dryness
Power Surge Midlife Sexuality, Relationship Experts...
Check the Power Surge Web Site's Library for transcripts of guest chats with experts in the area of sexuality. These guests have been part of Power Surge's, "My Menopause, My Sexual Self Series" started in 1995. Every author is listed in the Library alphabetically.
Click on the guest's name below to go to their transcripts.
Dr. Sandra Pertot, the author of Perfectly Normal: Living and Loving With Low Libido.
Dr. Marianne Brandon, the author of Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido.
Dr. Susan Rako, the author of
"The Hormone of Desire: The Truth About Testosterone, Sexuality and Menopause." Dr. Rako is an M.D. / Psychiatrist who's spent years researching testosterone.
Dr. Sandra Scantling, the author of
"Extraordinary Sex : A Couple's Guide To Intimacy." Dr. Sandy is Power Surge's Ask The Intimacy Expert.
Steven Carter, author of the international runaway bestseller, "Men Who
Can't Love," "What Smart Women Know" and This Is How Love Works. You'll also want to check out Steven Carter's, Ask The Power Surge Relationship Expert.
Mira Kirshenbaum, author of Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay.
Dr. Alan Altman, OB/GYN and Power Surge guest, co-author with Laurie Ashner
of Making Love The Way We Used To ... Or Better.
Nancy Friday, author of numerous sexuality books including, The Power of
Beauty: Men, Women and Sex Appeal Since Femninism.
Judith Sachs, author of numerous books including The Healing Power of Sex.
Joan Irvine, Ph.D., author of Recipes for Hot Sex.
Lonnie Barbach, Ph.D. , author of The Pause: Positive Approaches To Menopause
and numerous books on women's sexualty.
Sharyn Wolf, therapist and author of numerous books on sexuality and
relationships, " How To Stay Lovers For Life" .
Lee Raffel , family psychotherapist and author of "Should I Stay or Go? How
Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage."
Additional reading about vaginal health.