Lack Of Lubrication
One of the most distressing and probably least talked about symptoms of menopause is vaginal dryness. The lack of lubrication results when estrogen levels drop during menopause. Low levels of estrogen cause the vagina to lose its elasticity while the tissues become both more fragile and much thinner. In these women, some 20% of all women undergoing menopause, there are decreased vaginal secretions as well. In some women, this is a transient symptom, while for others the lack of lubrication is a permanent issue.
When the vagina fails to produce the normal amount of secretions there can be itching, pain during intercourse and sometimes bleeding. Women with the condition are more prone to vaginal infections, too. Here are some things you can do to rectify the situation:
*More sex—studies show that women who have more sex produce more vaginal secretions
*Stay hydrated—your whole body needs water to keep it healthy, your vagina does, too. Drink lots of water.
*Over the counter lubricants such as K-Y Jelly and Astroglide are useful and ease sexual intercourse.
*Replens is an over the counter product you can use on a regular basis to counteract vaginal dryness
*Go the natural way—open up vitamin E capsules and rub the oil inside your vagina every day for two weeks, then cut back to a once or twice a week application
Of course, vaginal estrogen is very effective at treating this condition. There are many methods available for applying estrogen to your vagina. Most women prefer a low dose vaginal cream such as Premarin or Estrace. You may wonder if the estrogen is available to your entire body if you only apply it only to your vagina. The fact is that these estrogen therapies are very well-absorbed by the body and will raise your estrogen levels.
Most women find that a low dose of 0.1 mg gives them great relief from vaginal dryness. Begin by dabbing a bit inside your vagina every day for around a month. Then cut back to once or twice a week. If you use it every day for longer than a month or a month and a half, it loses its effectiveness. Estrogen cream doesn't replace lubricants and you should still use K-Y Jelly or whatever product you prefer before engaging in sexual activity.
Some women really like the sustained-release products such as Vagifem and Estring. Vagifem is a vaginal tablet and Estring is a ring that is placed inside the vagina and left in for three months at a time. Estradiol is released in small amounts over the three month period a woman wears the ring. Because the amount of estrogen is very low, the rest of the body does not absorb the hormone.