Menopause is defined as the time in a woman’s life when her period stops. Many changes take place in the body of a women after menopause. Painful sex during intercourse is a common experience during menopause. Also, women may have difficulty in achieving orgasm. These symptoms are generally mild during perimenopause, i.e., the period before menopause. This period generally lasts for 3 months or can extend to 10 months. Dr. Marina Johnson says that women reach menopause at the same age as their mother.
Some of the common symptoms of menopause are vaginal dryness and sexual dysfunction. The main reason of sexual dysfunction in women is decline in the levels of estrogen. The levels of estrogen reduce after menopause. It has been found that if women don’t use postmenopausal estrogen, their vagina tends to shrink. Vagina can shrink as small as that of a pre-pubertal girl and the women may feel pain during sexual intercourse.
Also, vaginal dryness during the perimenopause gets severe with time, soon turning into vaginal atrophy, i.e., thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls. Marina also says that it isn’t necessary that women experience vaginal dryness only after menopause. Even young women who are sexually active may experience it. It may also be caused as aa side-effect of using contraceptives like birth control pills. Young women mostly ignore the pain during sex as they think that it is normal for sex to be painful. Also, they hesitate to discuss their experience with doctors. This is the reason why this problem go unnoticed most of the time.
Painful sex in menopausal women can be treated with the help of estrogen replacement therapy. However, Dr. Marina says that the symptoms like vaginal dryness and painful sex gradually subside after nearly two weeks of the therapy. Moreover, it is necessary for them to continue with long- term estrogen replacement so that the symptoms don’t reappear.
Dr. Marina says that pain during sex isn’t normal and if a women experiences this, they should let their doctor know about it to get better treatment.