Half the population will experience menopause at some point in their lives! Our bodies change and it can be a scary or difficult time for us. I’m here to bust some myths about menopause and vaginal dryness and reassure you that you’re not alone!
What is Menopause and does Menopause cause dryness?
Well, menopause is a stage of life, usually occurring in your 40s or 50s, where you stop getting your monthly periods and you can no longer become pregnant naturally – your ovaries will stop releasing eggs. There are lots of symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flushes, weight gain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and so on. One symptom that is also important but not as openly talked about is the common symptom of vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness occurs because your ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen and as a result estrogen levels begin to decrease. Without the production of estrogen in the body, the skin and support tissues of the vulva and vagina become thinner, less elastic and the vagina can become dry.
It is estimated that half of people going through menopause experience vaginal dryness and 90% of these people don’t seek treatment for their symptoms, which range from dryness to irritation and pain during sex. Some common complications of menopause are conditions like vulvovaginal atrophy and dyspareunia which include symptoms of vaginal dryness and discomfort or pain during sex. If this is you consult with your GP for the appropriate health advice.
What to use for Menopausal dryness?
If you are going through menopause and are wondering what you can do to help with dryness or discomfort during sex because of dryness, I have a very simple answer for you – lubricant!
Lube is your new best friend. Honestly, lubricants should be everybody’s best friend when things start to get hot and heavy in the bedroom. I’m not telling you to skip the foreplay, but you should always include lube during any sexual encounter, no matter what age you are! It makes things easier, can enhance pleasure, reduces friction and therefore discomfort, and if you’re using condoms it can make sex safer by making it less likely that the condom will break or come off.
According to a 2009 study, of 2,453 women interviewed more than 70% reported that lube made sex more pleasurable and enjoyable. Needing a lubricant does not mean that you’re not interested in your partner. So, no matter what age you are, pull out the lube next time you want to have sex!
So what's the best lube for Menopausal dryness?
Good question, there are a lot of different lubricants out there and sometimes it can be hard to know which one is best for you. The two main types of lubricants are water-based and silicone-based.
Water-based lube is very versatile and can in used in any activity – during sex, with sex toys and with both latex and non-latex condoms. We loved water-based lube because it reduces friction, won’t stain your sheets and it washes off easily in water.
Silicone-based lube is known to be long lasting and doesn’t need to be reapplied as often as other lubes. Silicone is hypoallergenic, safe to use with condoms and is great if you want use lube in the bath or the shower for some steamy shower sex. However, don’t use silicone lube with silicone sex toys, it can deteriorate the surface of them making it easier for harmful bacteria to grow.
When deciding which lube is right for you, be sure to look at the ingredients to make sure they don’t contain anything nasty. You want to avoid any lubricants that contain the following as they may cause irritation or inflammation:
- propylene glycol
- chlorhexidine gluconate
Also, look out for lubricants that are pH balanced formulated, these ones tend to be better for us (see article on pH balance here).
Next time you want to get down and dirty without worrying about dryness or discomfort, open up your bedside drawer, grab your favourite lube and you’re good to go!
Written By Tayla Badings