Understanding Vaginal Dryness and Painful Intercourse after Menopause
For many women, intercourse becomes painful after menopause because of changes in the vaginal tissue.
You may have expected the hot flashes and night sweats of menopause. But vaginal dryness and painful intercourse may have come as a surprise. During menopause, low levels of the female hormone estrogen cause natural lubrication to diminish and vaginal walls to become dry and thin. This common medical condition is called vaginal atrophy. While some symptoms of menopause may lessen over time, painful intercourse can continue and become more bothersome without treatment.
The good news is that vaginal atrophy and painful intercourse due to menopause can be effectively treated to provide relief. If you are experiencing painful intercourse after menopause, knowing more about vaginal atrophy, and what causes it, can help you understand the importance of finding a treatment that addresses the underlying problem.
Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream is a compounded prescription treatment proven to restore the vaginal tissue that provides lubrication after menopause. While you use it, it helps your body create its own inner moisture naturally, to help relieve painful intercourse due to menopause. That's something no over-the-counter product was designed to do.
First, you should know this: While what's happening to your body is not often talked about, it's a natural part of menopause. Many women are embarrassed to discuss painful intercourse, but it's more common than you may think. Over one half of all menopausal women experience vaginal symptoms.
What are the vaginal symptoms after menopause?
While menopause is a natural process, the decrease in estrogen can cause some very painful symptoms.
Menopause can result in:
- Less vaginal lubrication
- Thinner, drier vaginal walls
- Less elastic vaginal tissue
The symptoms you may experience are:
- Painful sex
- Dryness in and around the vagina
- Burning in and around the vagina
- Itching in and around the vagina
Your doctor can often diagnose your condition after a check-up and brief conversation. So, if you're experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor and ask whether Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol may be the right treatment for you.
A word of caution; DO NOT EVER let your doctor give you Premarin, Provera, or birth control pills- period. Although called “estrogen” by most doctors, they are not estrogen and they are VERY dangerous, they cause stroke, cancer and other BAD problems, it’s not your doctors fault, we just don’t learn this in Med School. Read my blog on The Horrors of Premarin if you want to be shocked)
What causes painful intercourse after menopause?
A woman's ovaries produce the female hormone estrogen. Among other things, estrogen helps maintain the thickness of the vaginal lining and stimulates vaginal moisture. During menopause the ovaries produce less estrogen. This decrease in estrogen levels results in thinning vaginal walls and a decrease in vaginal lubrication. These changes are called vaginal atrophy and can lead to the dry, painful intercourse you may be experiencing.
Here's what happens:
Prior to menopause, estrogen helps maintain the thickness of the vaginal lining and stimulates moisture. During menopause, the drop in estrogen causes thinning and inflammation of vaginal walls, as well as a decrease in vaginal lubrication - all of which could make intercourse dry and painful.
What are Estrogen side effects? (the following are based on studies done almost exclusively on Premarin, Provera and other forms of synthetic (not bio-identical or real) estrogen. The studies done on bio-identical topical (real) estrogen, estradiol & estriol, clearly do not show the same negative side effects. Bio-identical estrogen is safe and often improves health.
The most commonly reported side effects of Premarin Vaginal Cream include headache, infection, abdominal pain, back pain, accidental injury, and vaginitis. Premarin Vaginal Cream is only used in and around the vagina and therefore clearly safer than taking Estrogen orally, however, the risks associated with oral estrogens should be taken into account.
Serious, but less common side effects of estrogens include: (most if not all studies used to determine estrogen side effects used ORAL administration of synthetic hormones. Experts agree that oral estrogen, especially synthetic forms, should not be given, while topical, bio-identical estrogen is safe and necessary for optimal health)
- Breast cancer
- Cancer of the uterus
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
- Gallbladder disease
- Ovarian cancer
- High blood pressure
- Liver problems
- High blood sugar
- Enlargement of benign tumors of the uterus (fibroids)
Some of the warning signs of these serious side effects include:
- Breast lumps
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Dizziness and faintness
- Changes in speech
- Severe headaches
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pains in your legs
- Changes in vision
- Yellowing of the skin, eyes, or nail beds
Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these warning signs, or any other unusual symptoms that concern you.
Less serious, but more common, side effects include:
- Breast pain
- Irregular bleeding or spotting
- Stomach/abdominal cramps, bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hair loss
- Fluid retention
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Reactions from inserting Premarin Vaginal Cream, such as vaginal burning, irritation, and itching.
These are not all the possible side effects of Premarin Vaginal cream. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice about side effects and to decide how long you need treatment.
(Remember, I NEVER give any Estrogen orally, it is clearly a significant health risk when administered by this method, and I never give Premarin in any form)
Using Estriol / Estradiol Vaginal Cream to Treat the Cause
When used twice weekly, Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream can help relieve painful sex due to menopause by restoring your body's natural ability to lubricate.
How much cream will you need? Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream is a topical estrogen treatment in a very low-dose, for treating painful sex due to menopause, you can use as little as just a half gram applied twice a week. That's roughly the same size as a cranberry.
When do you apply the cream? You can apply Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream any time of the day that's convenient for you. Used just two times a week, (for example Monday and Thursday), it can help relieve painful intercourse due to menopause and you don't need to use it forever.
Where is it applied? Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream can be applied directly to vaginal tissues for targeted relief of your symptoms. And its formulation is designed to not liquify, so it's not messy.
How is it applied? Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream comes with its own applicator that helps you apply it directly to your vaginal tissue. The applicator is designed to help you measure your prescribed dosage neatly and precisely, for comfortable, easy use.
How long does it take to work? In clinical studies, women using Estriol, or Estradiol / Estriol Vaginal Cream experienced relief from vaginal discomfort and painful intercourse due to menopause in less than 3-4 weeks.
Val Manocchio, MD
Doctors Best Weight Loss & Wellness Center
5542 S. Flamingo Road
Cooper City, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 252-5454
Fax: (954) 252-5415