Why does it happen?
When the menopause happens, the drop in oestrogen levels can cause vaginal dryness and itching. This means that sex after the menopause can become less enjoyable. Also, some women find their interest in sex diminishes as the hormone levels decline.
How common is it?
Some surveys suggest that as many as 8 out of 10 menopausal women find sex painful, and this can adversely affect their relationships.
Who can help?
They key thing is not to suffer in silence, there are a variety of ways to relieve vaginal dryness and to help ensure sex less painful. Your Doctor or Pharmacist will be able to recommend a range of lubricants that can help alleviate vaginal dryness, and they will be only too pleased to offer appropriate help and advice.
What can I do myself?
Things you can do you help reduce vaginal dryness
- Avoid washing the intimate vaginal area with soap, bath oils and shower gels – they can make the dryness worse.
- Wash using lukewarm water only, or with a soap-free cleanser.
- Use a lubricant such as KY Jelly, Astroglide, Sylk, Senselle or Replens.
- These lubricants are all available over the counter from you Pharmacy without a prescription.
Other treatments for vaginal dryness
Your doctor can prescribe HRT, hormone replacement therapy, as an alternative to vaginal lubricants. But if you don’t want to take HRT, there are oestrogen creams, tablets and pessaries that can be applied "locally" to the vaginal area, to increase the flow of natural lubrication.