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Menopause and Painful Intercourse

Updated on July 13, 2010

Vaginal Dryness Is No Joke

Many women experience vaginal dryness which causes painful intercourse. This problem is common during and after menopause, however, dryness can be experienced at anytime in a woman's life.

Estrogen maintains healthy vaginal tissue with natural lubrication, tissue elasticity, and acidity.  It also helps maintain the body's natural defense against vaginal and urinary infections. When estrogen levels decrease, so do the body's natural defenses, which may lead to painful intercourse. Sexual discomfort can cause a woman to shy away and avoid intimate relations.

Menopause, childbirth, breast feeding, radiation, chemotherapy, and immune disorders can cause decreased estrogen production. Cigarette smoking has also been reported to lower the body's immune system defense.

Allergy and cold medications, including some antidepressants, may decrease natural vaginal lubrication. Cleansing with douching preparations disrupts the body's chemical balance and may also cause dryness.

Sexual activities require adequate vaginal lubrication, to lessen friction sensitivity while having intercourse. Dryness causes the vagina to itch and burn, and has been known as prime causes of female sexual dysfunction.

Water-based lubricants give the best protection against dryness. These formulas are most likely to prevent irritation or infection than glycerin-based lubricants.  Water-based lubricants are also  safe to use with condoms. Most water-based lubricants ingredients include aloe vera, which provides benefits against sensitivity to synthetic products.

There are also lubricants that you insert into your vagina. Suppository-type lubricants dissolve quickly by body heat. Some people use organic olive oil as a vaginal lubricant, however, do not use olive oil if condoms are used. Olive oil breaks down the elements of latex elements, and protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases is lost.

Maintain a happy sex life, enjoy your sexuality, and allow your body to become fully aroused before having intercourse. If lubricants are needed, don't be afraid or ashamed to use them.  Copulation pain and vaginal dryness can prevent enjoyable play time for you and your partner.


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