I am 49, but i was diagnosed as being in menopause since 2007.
In 2010 I noticed that penetrative intercourse had become very painful. In 2014 a gynea confirmed that I had experienced premature ovarian failure which brought on the early menopause. He also said that this can cause the vaginal walls to become thin and penetration to be painful as a result. What can I do to overcome this – is there a “cure”? I still become very wet when aroused, but this does not seem to be enough to overcome the pain. So I was wondering how a lubricant or moisturiser would help if I’m already wet and that doesn’t help?
Dr Eve answers:
I begin by apologising on behalf of my health care provider colleagues. I bear them no ill will. I make no judgment. I know they do not get training in Sexual Medicine and thus feel unskilled and ill equipped to provide essential sexual health care to you and the many many other women who are deprived this care. At the same time I cannot deny my anger that health care providers do not up their game and include sexual health into their practices.
When there is ovarian failure , as your gynaecologist diagnosed, oestrogen is removed, disappears. It is exactly the same effect as going into menopause. Oestrogen is responsible, amongst many other contributions, for keeping women’s skins soft and supple, their hair nourished and their vaginas well moistened. Without it women dry out . Your vagina dries right out and becomes atrophied due to loss of this moisture.
This is the reason for your painful penetration . Your vagina shrinks, shortens and because there is no lovely oestrogen to maintain the inner lining of the vagina, any object inserted into the vagina , will meet a dried out vaginal wall without its usual protection.
Solutions: Because you are under 60 years old, you are still a good candidate for hormone therapy. Over the age of 60, hormone therapy cannot be begun for the first time. Please discuss your risks and benefits with your gynaecologist. If you or your health care provider decide hormone therapy is no good for you, I highly recommend you use a topical oestrogen replacement , such as Vagifem. Within a few weeks of regular use, you will have a renewed vaginal wall. No Pain !
In addition , and if you or your gynaecologist rejects hormone therapy, moisturizer is essential. I import Sliquid , which can be inserted directly into the vagina, with an applicator. It does not rebuild the vaginal wall, but will moisten your vagina and minimise the pain . Use it daily, or just before penetration .
In addition I recommend you use a silicone lubricant at the entrance of the vagina and over a condom, to make entry easier.
Be assured that this regime will bring you good results. You deserve and have a right to have pain free sexuality.