Painful Sex After Menopause
Learn about loss of estrogen, vaginal atrophy and a new procedure
that can renew and restore vaginal health and revive your sex life.
Sex After Menopause
For many women, going through menopause can have a profoundly negative impact on their sex lives. Loss of estrogen leads to vaginal dryness, burning, pain and painful sex. Loss of estrogen can also lead to decreased sex drive, diminished ability to achieve orgasm, and decreased vaginal sensation. This can result in diminished desire for sex, diminished enjoyment of sex, and potentially complete avoidance of sex altogether.
To make matters worse, these changes do not just impact the woman, they affect her sexual partner as well (we will assume a male partner for the purposes of discussion, but realistically this could also apply to a female partner). It is very stressful for the male partner to learn that he is causing pain to his partner during sex. This can lead to a host of strong emotions, such as embarrassment, guilt, shame, even anger, and later can lead to avoidance and fear of sex. This in turn can affect the couple’s entire relationship.
The most important thing to understand is that for most women, this state of affairs is not permanent and is quite treatable. But what exactly is the condition we are dealing with? It is called vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal Atrophy, sometimes called atrophic vaginitis, is a common condition affecting tens of millions of post-menopausal women in the U.S. The symptoms include chronic vaginal dryness, painful vaginal burning, persistent itching, vaginal irritation, urinary urgency and urinary frequency and painful sex. For some women sexual intercourse is merely painful but for others it is unbearable. Many post-menopausal women have given up on their sex lives altogether. But there is now a new way to revive your sex life. Keep reading!
After menopause, the periods stop because the ovaries can no longer produce estrogen. Ovulation also stops which is why there are no more menstrual periods. The low estrogen levels in the body lead to a thinning and drying out of the mucous membrane lining of the vagina which is an estrogen-dependent tissue. Vaginal atrophy is not generally seen right after the onset of menopause. Women usually get hot flashes and night sweats in the early stages of menopause, and the symptoms of vaginal atrophy might not become severe until more than a year after the loss of menstrual periods.
Other conditions to consider
Vaginal Atrophy is not the only condition that can cause painful sex, but it is almost always the explanation when painful sex develops after menopause when it was not a problem before that. If sex is painful prior to menopause, other conditions that could be present include endometriosis; pelvic adhesions; pelvic organ problems such as prolapse, cysts, fibroids or tumors; vaginal narrowing; or vulvar disorders such as lichen sclerosus. A consultation with a gynecologist might be warranted.
Existing Treatments for Vaginal Atrophy (VA) and Painful Sex
Over-the-counter products such as vaginal moisturizers and vaginal lubricants have been around for a while, but they provide minimal and very short-term relief. Also in many cases the vaginal tissues are so sensitive that even these supposedly soothing products can cause vaginal irritation and discomfort.
Estrogen - system or vaginal
Most medical treatments involve the use of supplemental estrogen hormone. Estrogen skin patches, creams, gels, implantable estrogen pellets and oral estrogen (called systemic estrogen) all increase the estrogen hormone circulating through the blood but they often still do not provide much relief for vaginal atrophy. This is because the thin vaginal lining does not have very good circulation to start with, so not much estrogen makes it to those tissues.
Vaginal application of estrogen can be more effective treatment than systemic, but this approach has risks, which include post-menopausal bleeding, risk of uterine cancer (low), plus the messy side effects of using vaginal creams. Additionally, estrogen can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots and breast cancer survivors are usually told not to use any estrogen at all, even vaginal.
Osphena - a type of estrogen, but not exactly
Osphena, a new prescription drug being heavily marketed by the Pharmaceutical industry, is the first and only oral non-estrogen medication approved for the relief of vaginal dryness and painful sex. (Actually, Osphena is a form of estrogen with some properties similar to estrogen and some that oppose estrogen). Despite its persuasive marketing, clinical data show the drug to be minimally effective, costly and it must be taken daily.
Intrarosa - this is a vaginal insert composed of DHEA (prasterone), a male hormone. Most experts believe that the male hormone is converted in the vaginal tissues to estrogen. This product is sued every night, takes months to work, is messy, and minimally effective.
These are the basic treatments available for painful sex after menopause: Lubricants, estrogen, an expensive estrogen-like prescription medication or a male hormone that likely is converted by the body into estrogen. For millions of women, none of these treatments work and many of them might not even know that there is something else available, a non-hormonal treatment.
Read on to learn about a safe and effective treatment for
painful sex and vaginal atrophy. Relief is just a laser beam away!
Dr. Bryan Jick, a Board-Certified Gynecologist in Pasadena, California with more than 25 years of experience in women’s health, is now offering the ValayzaTM Procedure, a laser treatment for vaginal atrophy and painful sex.
The ValayzaTM Procedure is done using the new MonaLisa TouchTM
Laser. This nearly painless procedure requires just three brief sessions, spaced about four to six weeks apart. The laser stimulates the growth of collagen causing the vaginal mucous membrane lining to become thicker and more elastic, similar to the lining when estrogen is present. Microscopic analysis of vaginal tissues has confirmed this.
The Results might seem "too good to be true" but they are real !
The results are literally “too good to be true”, but they are real ! In one study of 30 women, “all 30 patients experienced overwhelmingly positive and immediate results," said Dr. Mickey Karram, the first Ob/Gyn physician in America to use this laser. "The women showed highly statistically significant improvement in symptoms – including dryness, pain, itching, painful urination and painful intercourse after the first treatment. They experienced no side effects or adverse reactions and showed an escalation of progress with each subsequent treatment."
The MonaLisa TouchTM Laser has been in use in Europe for more than 10 years, in Australia for over 7 years and was introduced for use in the U.S. in late 2014. One doctor in Australia has performed over 1,000 successful treatments with consistently positive results and no complications .
If you are suffering from vaginal atrophy (VA) which includes the symptoms of vaginal dryness, vaginal burning, vaginal pain, and/or painful sex, and if you are not able to use estrogen, then the ValayzaTM Procedure just might be the perfect treatment for you. Click here for FAQ's about the ValayzaTM Procedure.