With our busy schedules, it’s easy to forget to make time for sex, which may help with mood and intimacy within a relationship. So, with all these positives, why should women want to give up one of life’s most pleasurable pastimes? Because they’re too tired, not in the mood or too dry to try.
Facts about vaginal dryness:
- Vaginal dryness can affect women of all ages due to childbirth, menopause, cancer treatment and a host of other issues, which can cause painful sex, irritation, itching, burning and soreness and can worsen over time.
- Regular intercourse even into the 80s and 90s can help maintain vaginal elasticity and lubrication.
- Cigarette smoking can lower estrogen levels, contributing to vaginal dryness in peri-menopause.
- Sex can be made more enjoyable after menopause by treating dryness with a vaginal moisturizer.
- Allergy medications with antihistamines can dry out mucous membranes, including those in the vaginal wall.
- While local vaginal estrogen is safe and effective, some women don’t feel comfortable using hormone therapy and seek alternatives or a companion product like Replens.
- Avoid using vinegar, yogurt, douches, hand lotions, soaps and bubble baths. They will only irritate the sensitive tissue of the vagina and vulva and exacerbate dryness.
- Sjogren’s syndrome can lead to vaginal dryness.
- Diuretics like caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate vaginal dryness.
As the body changes, it can leave women with painful vaginal conditions. But a new treatment called FemTouch that uses laser technology — no surgery or hormones — can have a dramatic effect on the lives of postmenopausal women who experience vaginal dryness.
“When we go through menopause, estrogen levels decline,” said Dr. Christine LaSala, a Hartford HealthCare urogynecologist. “Estrogen is so important in our bodies. Specifically, estrogen on the vagina keeps the vagina moist, elastic and pliable — and healthy. So when we go through menopause and as the estrogen levels decline, the vagina, the urethra and the bladder feel it.”
There may be the onset of symptoms such as vaginal dryness, itchiness and irritation. Enough to make a woman question whether she has an infection.
And worst of all: Sex hurts.
“It’s like scratching. It can be very dramatic and very uncomfortable,” said Dr. LaSala. “It all happens gradually over a few years. But it happens to all of us.”
FemTouch uses carbon-dioxide laser technology to address common vaginal health related aspects, particularly dryness. This procedure triggers collagen production, which promotes new vaginal tissue growth. It is minimally invasive and involves no hormonal replacement therapy.
“Menopause happens in our late 40s or early 50s — and then we’ve still got 40-50 years left to live,” said Dr. LaSala. “We’re living a good part of our lives in the post-menopausal condition. It doesn’t have to be that way.”