Whenever we run a poll with women in the Midlife Switch Facebook group about what do women want to know more about, the questions are always the same. How can I get rid of my menopause tummy and how can I get my libido back having sorted out vaginal dryness? The first, every woman can discuss with their girlfriends; the second is a topic rarely discussed even with their best friends. But it is possible in fact, you may end up having better sex than ever before.
First question to answer – why do women get vaginal dryness at menopause and how can this be reversed?
Why does vaginal dryness happen?
As you approach menopause, your ovaries gradually stop producing oestrogen, a key sex hormone you depend upon to function normally, as you did before menopause. Oestrogen helps to produce the cells that create mucus in the vagina and keeps the high elasticity in the walls of your vagina and the skin there supple. When there’s little or no oestrogen circulating around your system, the factory that produces those cells virtually goes out of business1.
Other symptoms associated with vaginal dryness include frequently needing to pee, narrowing or shortness of the vagina, vaginal irritation, painful sex, reduced sex drive, and repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs).
It can be a very difficult, isolating time for many women. In a recent survey 58% of women admitted finding it very difficult to have conversations with their husbands or partner about menopause as they didn’t know where to start and were often afraid that a conversation would only make things worse.
There is a palpable lack of knowledge amongst both women and men. But, it’s so important to have an open discussion about this because menopause is just another transition that women go through. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and you have to bear in mind that you’re in a transitional period in your life. With the right knowledge you can fix this and start feeling like yourself again.
How can women overcome vaginal dryness?
Top tips from Maryon Stewart:
1. Make sure you are consuming a wholesome diet.
It is essential that you have good nutrients going through to your brain and nervous system and that you are always well nourished. That helps your brain chemistry to function normally and has a knock –on effect to your hormone system.
2. Consume naturally occurring oestrogen.
To replace the oestrogen produced by your body, you can help yourself by consuming naturally- occurring oestrogen little and often so your body has a constant supply. We would recommend having something for breakfast like soy milk, flax seeds, edamame beans at lunch or maybe a soy yoghurt in the afternoon with a few more flaxseeds. You can also eat tofu and supplements that contain naturally occurring oestrogen such as Promensil made from Red Clover.
3. Take supplements that contain Omega 7
Omega 7 is known to help get your vagina back into good shape. You can’t get Omega 7 from food so we recommend a taking the clinically tested2 Pharmanord’s Omega 7 SBA 24, which has shown to help the mucus in the vagina and the elasticity of the walls. Be patient it can take up to 12 weeks to make a difference, but is well worth the wait. As a bonus, it also has a positive effect your skin and nails!
4. Use lubricating gel
For the short term while you are healing and getting your vagina back into good health, use a good water-based gel3 and an oil-based gel for your partner such as YES. You can also use coconut oil which helps with healing inflammation.
Never rush to have penetrative sex if the vaginal tissues are not ready for action – but once you are feeling confident again your libido will start to return.
Revving up your sex drive
It’s a common stereotype going around that women who have gone through menopause have little or no interest in sex. But that’s just not true. Although declining hormone levels mean a decrease in blood flow to the clitoris and vagina which reduces their sensitivity, it’s often a time of increased sexual freedom. With no chance of pregnancy and more time and opportunity given the children are no living at home – it can mean a renewed sense of intimacy between partners. Take time and enjoy yourself.
Here are some top tips to help regain your libido.
Communicate with your partner
Expecting your partner to understand what is going on without you explaining can quickly put a distance between you. Try to spend some time together, explain what you are going through and ask for support. Keep talking.
Use lubricant if needed
As mentioned above, if penetration is really painful explore other ways of giving each other sexual pleasure. Indulge in plenty of foreplay and don’t shy away from using an organic lubricant like YES! Make it all part of the experience.
Find things that turn each other on
Treat each other to a sensual massage. Turn on the music, dim the lights, and start to touch each other gently. Maybe watch a sexy movie together – to get you in the mood. Try new things – introduce a few toys. Mix it up and see what happens.
Returning to a full sexual life as you remember may not happen all at once – even if you don’t orgasm enjoy the intimacy. Many women cannot climax just through penetration so mix it up and enjoy just being with each other without any pressure and you may discover new ways to make you happy.
If you need more help then perhaps consider taking a supplement such as Lady Prelox which has been through clinical trials showing an improvement in sexual libido. Lady Prelox is the first natural and science-based female sexual pleasure formula on the market. It contains key natural ingredients that work together to enhance pleasure, desire, and comfort. It can take up to 12 weeks to take effect, so don’t give up.
Don’t shy away from finding your mojo again – it can be re-discovered!
We have created an information booklet you might find useful with more information and top tips. There is also a webinar to watch on this topic throughout the next month.
1 J Calleja-Agius, M P Brincat. The Urogenital System and the Menopause. Climacteric, 18 Suppl 1, 18-22 2015
3 D Edwards, N Panay. Treating Vulvovaginal Atrophy/Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: How Important is Vaginal Lubricant and Moisturizer Composition? Climacteric, 19 (2), 151-61 Apr 2016
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