How to Deal with Painful Sex in Menopause

How to Deal with Painful Sex in Menopause

MenoLabs News | 5

Menopause brings with it many changes in a woman’s body. You might notice an increase in weight and fat around the abdominal area, you might become moodier and more irritable, you may get less quality sleep, and experience pain during or after sexual intercourse. Painful sex is a very bothersome symptom that has a negative impact on a woman's quality of life. Find out how you can deal with it.

Why does sex become painful in menopause and what can you do about it?
Why does sex become painful in menopause and what can you do about it?

Perimenopause / Menopause


Are you in perimenopause / menopause?


What Is the Cause of Painful Sex in Menopause?

Just like with many, if not all, other symptoms of menopause, the main reason for painful sex is the decline in estrogen levels during this transition. Because of hormonal changes in your body, the tissues of the vagina become drier and thinner. As a result, this can create more friction during sex and result in pain and tightness. A study among menopausal women shows that most of the sexual problems appeared in perimenopause and menopause (1). Experiencing painful sex in menopause is a condition called GSM, genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or dyspareunia.

Many women feel too shy to discuss the problem of painful sex with their doctor or even with their partner. They are lucky if they have a friends they could speak with about it and ask for advice. Although, it is more common for women to wait until they cannot bear their symptoms anymore to reach out for help. However, giving women more chances to talk about problems in sex related to menopause could improve their quality of life, as the study suggests (2).

Women should address their symptoms more often. Yes, having this condition is natural for women at the age of menopause, but this does not mean there is nothing you can do to ease the pain. Vaginal dryness can be treated (3) and there are also many natural and over the counter solutions you can use to deal with painful sex. The most important thing is to not be afraid to speak about your symptoms with your doctor and your partner so that you can find solutions to this problem.

Speak openly and honestly about your symptoms
Speak openly and honestly about your symptoms

Ways to Deal with Painful Sex

Sex should be enjoyable, even after menopause, and you do not have to suffer through the pain. Instead, speak to your partner openly about how you feel and find a way, together, to make the experience more enjoyable. These tips will help to relieve the pain you may have before, during, or after intercourse.

Physical Therapy

Something you might not have heard about before is pelvic floor therapy. This is a rather new method for treating vaginal dryness and painful sex. In it, massage is applied to stretch and relax the tissues in the pelvic area which help alleviate dryness. Besides therapy, you can try doing exercises targeting pelvic floor muscles to reach a similar effect.

Use Lubricants and Moisturizers

When vaginal tissues become dry in menopause, they cannot produce enough lubrication for you to avoid pain during sex naturally. But you can always use over the counter lubricants to ease the pain. Apply them before and after sex for the best results. Apart from lubricants, there are also moisturizers available that you can apply on a daily basis, not only before or during intercourse. These lubricants are designed to help ease vaginal dryness over the long term and offer a good way to support your vaginal health.

Increase Foreplay

Be open and honest with your partner about your painful experience. Menopause is a natural transition in every woman’s life, so there is nothing that you have done wrong. Try to spend more time on foreplay during sex so you can get more aroused for your body to produce more natural lubrication. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Practice Relaxation

After experiencing pain during sex, you might constantly have in mind that the feeling will return. As a result, you will be anxious which would make it harder for you to get aroused. To overcome this anxiety, try to practice relaxation techniques during the day like yoga or meditation, and try to focus only on positive things when it comes to sex. Your partner does not want to hurt you, and if you are open with him about your feelings, everything will work out.

There are ways to deal with painful sex in menopause
There are ways to deal with painful sex in menopause

Have Regular Sex

This might sound counterintuitive and you might be thinking, why should I have more sex when it is painful? The truth is, being aroused regularly improves blood flow to your sex organs, and as a result, more sex helps your body lubricate naturally. Regular stimulation, regardless of whether it is with or without a partner, is beneficial for your vaginal health.

Get a Prescription

Some women turn to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is effective for alleviating many symptoms of menopause. However, we do not suggest it as it comes with many risks and side effects. Although, you could ask your doctor to prescribe a vaginal cream containing estrogen. You will apply this cream topically so not much estrogen will be absorbed into the body, which minimizes the risks.

Using Probiotics to Deal with Painful Sex

When it comes to dealing with painful sex in menopause, you can use both medical and natural solutions. There is also a connection between vaginal health and the health of your gut flora, so supporting your gut can also help relieve the problems with painful sex. Eating probiotic foods or taking supplements is a good way to promote gut health. And you can find probiotics in live yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha.

In addition, taking a probiotic supplement will help you make sure that you get enough beneficial bacteria, as you may not eat enough probiotic foods. MenoLabs has designed a line of probiotic supplements tailored to meet the needs of women going through the menopausal transition. Taking your daily probiotic will support your digestive and vaginal health so you can live happier in menopause.

 

(1) P. Sarrel and M. Whitehead. “Sex and menopause: defining the issues.

(2) R. Nappi and M. Lachowsky. “Menopause and sexuality: Prevalence of symptoms and impact on quality of life.”

(3) A. Katz. “When Sex Hurts: Menopause-Related Dyspareunia.”

Looking for more ways to help improve your sleep patterns and mood swings?


Check out MenoGuard™ for more information on how probiotics can help boost your mood and get a good night's rest.

* The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



5 Comments

Cynthia

  • Feb 19, 2020

This article isnt lying. I know it sounds weird, but having more sex actually does work…at least it did for me. I fought through my low libito, but I’m glad i did

Danni

  • Feb 19, 2020

You just hit me where it hurts! I’m just reeeeally dry, so lube lube lube is what we use.

Brenda E.

  • Feb 13, 2020

Man do I know all about this! I feel terrible for my husband, but with no libito PLUS the pain, I absolutely cant bring myself to have sex knowing how unpleasant it will be.

Kris

  • Feb 6, 2020

I don’t normally comment on these things, but I feel its important for women to know that there are women out there that just can’t relax even when being intimate with their partners. I am one of them. I love my husband to pieces and I know he would do everything he could to make sure I am comfortable, but it is what it is. Sex is complicated and its not a walk in the park for everyone and that’s ok. Do what works for you, little victories are often the best we can do!

ASH

  • Jan 31, 2020

This is such a frustrating symptom. I used to have a healthy sex life but now I cannot stand penetrative sex, it feels like a million needles stabbing the inside of my vagina. SORRY for the TMI but this is the reality of menopause. At this point I’m willing to try anything.

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