I find this not the easiest of conversations, perhaps because when I was growing up, for one mum didn’t tell me about periods or sex, found out mostly through girlfriends – or experience!!! It was a bit of taboo in our house – today it is quite different in my house as I don’t want the same for my children.
However, in saying this I only talk age appropriate and this topic is not one I’m broaching with them anytime soon. But I will here as I’m more comfortable and the desire to help others goes beyond my discomfort.
The first time you may experience this can be during perimenopause or menopause. And then the first time it comes to your attention is when having sex or being intimate with your partner you feel irritation, pain or burning (I likened it to razor blades!!!). It can happen other times too like when having had a hysterectomy, breast feeding or cancer treatments. Or even some medications.
And this is why. Dr Cynthia Abraham says “After and around the time of menopause, your body makes less estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone that helps maintain the vagina’s lubrication, elasticity, and thickness. Low levels of estrogen can cause thinning, drying, and inflammation of vaginal walls. This is called vaginal atrophy.”
Other symptoms can include – bleeding, redness, increased and / or painful urination, UTI’s, itching, and tightening of vagina are a few.
There are over the counter moisturisers or lubricants that can help – but I’m a stickler for what is put into these ingredients and you really want to ask the questions before use or going to a trusted source.
One I vouch for is Happy Pause Menopause Balm/moisturizer made by Sandy Davis who has won many awards for her work in empowering women. It is Australian made and owned and is made with DME Coconut Oil and part of the proceeds Sandy makes goes to The Period Project – please note I get absolutely nothing for saying this. It is a product I trust.
PS I noticed Sandy has a special on at the moment – Buy 3 for 2 $47.90
Another person I trust is Dr Anna Cabeca, and she has 3 Tips to treat Vaginal Dryness. These being
1. Keep your Vignal Tissues Lubricated – Use a gentle moisturiser (not just any one!) but her safe ones include coconut oil & shea butter.
2. Support Estrogen Levels – As estrogen levels drop, supporting natural estrogen in our bodies
3. Let’s talk about inflammation. when our vulvovaginal tissues are inflamed, it can lead to a more inflamed body and the cycle continues. So taking care of your insides through a healthy diet including Alkaline foods and plenty of exercise can help.
She also has a product called Julva® that may suit your needs – you can check it out here
Of course seeing your Obstetrician or GP is always important particularly if symptoms occur.