Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Menopause, Painful Intercourse, and Vaginal Dryness

by Dr. Margaret Aranda

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 with a frown, "Me?  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."  Her eyebrows frown ever so gently as her skin continue to glisten in the moonlight.  

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,"  she says.

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, also known as 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 hot flashes, vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy, and pain on intercourse ~ all these things can happen with menopause.  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!




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Dr. Margaret Aranda's Books:

No More Tears en Espanol
Face Book Page: Stepping from the Edge
Little Missy Two-Shoes Likes to go to School
From Menarche to Menopause: A Journey through Time



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Full Disclosure: Margaret A. Ferrante, M.D.  is an Institute Physician with Cenegenics Medical Institute.  She receives no monetary compensation for hosting this website you are on, which is independent and not affiliated with Cenegenics. The information presented is for education and awareness.  Dr. Ferrante currently sees patients out of the Cenegenics office in Beverly Hills, CA. 
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