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Menopause Madness – vaginal dryness

Yes, we know. Nobody wants to talk about their erstwhile love tunnel turning into a sub-Saharan no-go area. But it happens to woman of all ages and for pre- and post-menopausal women it happens to more of us more often. A survey reported by NHS UK claims that 84% of menopausal women find sex painful and, of them, 70% say their relationship has deteriorated.

Just doing the demographic maths tells us that over 3 million women in the UK are suffering right now.

More facts

Researchers for Vagisil products (of more later) have recently pulled together data gathered over three years from thousands of women and can tell us that:

  • It is not a one-off issue for many. 55% of women with vaginal dryness have it upwards to 6 times a year.

  • 47% of women do not seek a solution

  • 37% accepted it as ‘part of growing older’ and 57% said it made them feel old

  • 54% rate their sex-life as average or below

  • 22% avoid intimacy and 20% worry about it when they are intimate 

You think that’s bad? It gets worse. Of those reporting vaginal dryness the associated issues are reduced confidence (71%), stress (72%), reduced happiness (72%), negative impact on relationships (75%) and poorer sex life (81%).

 

So why aren’t we talking about it?

We think there are a number of reasons:

  • Embarrassment. Many of us avoid talking about things ‘down there’. One Sassista here admits the very subject makes her a ‘bit queasy’. Most of us were raised to think that talking of intimate parts is either rude, distasteful or shameful. How many of us sit down over a chardonnay with our girlfriends and say that sex feels like he is shoving a football into a wormhole? – and that’s before the pain starts!

  • Lack of knowledge. If the Vagisil team found that 37% of women just accepted it, then not enough of us are understanding it.  The cause is quite simple. Inside our vagina we have a system of glands. Two by the cervix produce internal moisture (your vaginal biome), during sex the Bartholin’s glands just inside the vagina produce more moisture to help things along. As oestrogen declines with the menopause our vaginal skin gets thinner and these glands slow down. Less moisture, more pain. Simple.

  • Don’t mention the war.Men can be sensitive bunnies and they often think it is all their fault. It is bad enough to feel ‘you are ‘rubbing your dick with sandpaper’, but when he thinks he is no longer able to turn you on, it gets hard (pardon the anti-pun). Men find starting sex and having to stop frustrating (don’t we all?) and, for some, just not starting is the better alternative. Good men who know they are causing pain start to avoid sex. But do we talk about it? Often not. Instead we think they have stopped fancying us and blame the tummy and grey hair.

  • Few solutions. Too many of us think there is no solution. Wrong. Read on. As ever, the Sassitas have been on the hunt for solutions.

 

Step one: Wise up.

  1. Get informed. Staying Sassy will not give detailed medical advice but there are good sources on the internet. Try /www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/focus-series/vaginal-dryness/ (though we do not go along with their advice to use Vaseline – it smells bad!). If you go onto You Tube you can see a number of mini-films giving good information and advice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjA1ghRl5OA

  2. Stop adding to the dryness. Highly perfumed soaps, shower gels or ‘intimate washes’ which are of low standard will only add to the dryness. Wash with unperfumed soaps or a high quality intimate wash such as Vagisil ProHydrate Intimate Wash which isgynaecologist tested.

  3. Do not douche. A mad process of showering away all your internal lubrication in the false belief it will avoid all smells. It doesn’t and it is not good for you. If you have ever considered the steam douche a la Gwyneth Paltrow we can only deem you to be quite bonkers!

  4. Talk to your mate. Yes. Tell him or her. You may feel embarrassed, you may feel queasy, but if your relationship is being affected they deserve to know what is happening. Also, when you go onto step three, they need to be ready to get going again.

 

Step two: Get a solution.

There are a number of solutions out there.

  1. Medical assistance. Your GP will be able to prescribe a range of solutions including HRT which kick-stars the glands (though think about the counter arguments for HRT), a topical oestrogen cream which you apply with an applicator; oestrogen pessaries or tablets with applicators or an oestrogen-releasing vaginal ring which apparently works for three months. The only down side to applicator solutions is that they have a dampening effect on spontaneity.

  2. Standard lubricants such asKY Jelly, Astroglide, Sylk, Senselle or Replens. There is also a product called SASS! They are easy to use if a little messy. We think it is easier to slather the stuff all over him than do contortions to get enough lube up there in the height of passion. But find your own fun way.

  3. Slow down. If you take longerwith foreplay then you are giving your glands more time to react. However, we have to be sensitive to the fact that many men over 50 are concerned about maintaining an erection and so taking an hour to warm up might put him under pressure and be counter-productive.

  4. Specialist lubricant. Staying Sassy avoids promoting single products, but this is an exception. We love the The Vagisil ProHydrate range. Why?Mainly because this company focuses on one thing – a mission to improve the intimate health of women. They have been researching and developing their products for over 40 years and the development is by women for women. Quality is high, gynaecologically tested and responds to what women say they want. The range covers every aspect of vaginal dryness. The Vagisil ProHydrate Internal Hydrating Gel ensures you are permanently moisturised and so can be spontaneous with your mate, the Vagisil ProHydrate External Hydrating Gel ensures vaginal comfort and the Vagisil ProHydrate Intimate Wash is safe and gentle enough for daily use. It covers all bases. It is great value and you can get it in any good chemist.

 

          

Sassista approved!

 

Step three: Get going

We are assuming you do not need guidance on this step. But do warn your mate that making up for lost time and lack of practice is required.

Remember, it is your life, your choice and there is no need to be a sandpaper celibate!


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