A few generations ago, many women just got old when menopause struck. Currently, many women live for a number of the decades after the menopause, during which they can enjoy good health—and a satisfying sex life. Some problems can occur after the menopause that can impact sex relationships. Tara Allmen, MD is a board certified obstetrician gynecologist and a nationally certified menopause practitioner from The Center of Menopause, Hormonal Disorders and Women’s Health. I consulted with her on the topic
Dr. Allmen notes that menopause is inevitable—barring an untimely death, every woman will experience menopause. With menopause and post-menopause come natural health challenges or questions that are totally normal and need to be addressed. Talking about these topics is never easy with your friends or partner—or even with your doctor. However, it is important to become educated so you understand your symptoms and how to best manage them. It is also important for postmenopausal women to understand they are not alone.
A common problem impacting menopausal women is vaginal dryness, which is due to a drop in estrogen. The condition can make sexual relations painful and even impossible.For these women, Dr. Allmen recommends the Estring, which is a ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases a small amount of estradiol for three months before it needs to be replaced. When in place, neither the woman nor her partner is aware of its presence. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can restore vaginal health; however, some women have health conditions that preclude their use or are reluctant to take HRT because of it has been reported to increase the risk of breast cancer or other illnesses.
Dr. Allmen concurred with me that many gynecologists have busy practices that preclude conversations about an intimate topics. Both she and I agree that a woman should not be afraid to speak up and request time to discuss the situation. Before discussing the situation with a healthcare professional, a woman should educate herself regarding issues of the menopause. She recommends two websites: estring.com for information regarding the Estring ring and www.menopause.org, which is the website of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Another good source of information for women is www.acog.org, the website of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).