Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sexual Difficulties and Menopause

A lot of women are happy to be going through menopause because this saves them the worries and fears of unwanted pregnancy. They also tend to be more in touch with and comfortable about their sexual needs and desires than they were earlier in life. Regrettably, there are also many women who find that menopause has an unfavorable impact on their sex lives. There are a number if different changes that can occur during menopause that may cause sexual problems.

Many of the sexual difficulties menopausal women experience are a direct result of declining levels of sex hormones. Among other things, deficiencies of the sex hormones estrogen and Testosterone often produce shrinkage and dryness of the vagina and reduce sexual desire. Over half of all women at menopause and beyond are bothered by dryness of the vaginal tissues. This can lead to discomfort and even pain during sexual intercourse.

There are several different strategies that you can use, either singly or in combination, to overcome vaginal dryness and fragility. For a temporary lubricating action, you can use a bland jelly, or vitamin E cream, which also has a healing effect. These can be used before or during sexual intercourse, as needed. There are also products, such as Replens, that are formulated especially for this condition and that, when used on a daily basis, are supposed to offer longer lasting relief. These products are available at drug stores without prescription.

To actually restore and strengthen the vagina, however, you need to use a hormonal cream or vaginal suppository, especially if your menopause was early or you want to resume sexual activity after a long period of abstinence. Hormonal creams and vaginal suppositories rejuvenate, thicken and moisten the mucosal folds and lining of the vagina and they improve circulation, thus restoring the capacity of natural lubrication and orgasm. If you feel that your vagina has shrunk, this can be overcome by regularly massaging the inside and opening of the vaginal walls using an estrogen cream. Place some estrogen cream on your fingers and rub it into the vaginal walls, gently stretching the walls apart and exerting gentle pressure backwards at the opening of the vagina. There is not need to stretch excessively and cause any discomfort. Ten minutes daily of this gentle massage and stretching will suffice. Estrogen creams and suppositories require a doctor's prescription, as they contain hormones; known brands are Premarin, Estrace and Ogen. For some women, the addition of Testosterone to the vaginal estrogen cream can make it much more effective than estrogen cream alone in restoring sexual responsiveness. You can ask your doctor to write a prescription for your pharmacist to mix you a special vagina cream containing both estrogen and Testosterone. You may massage your entire vaginal area with this cream for three to four weeks, after which time you should need to use it only twice a week. Most menopausal women find hormonal creams suppositories much like an aphrodisiac and make them feel sexier.

Michael RussellYour Independent guide to Medical Billing