If you’ve been noticing changes ‘down there’ and a distinct disinterest in sex you’re not alone. It’s just that no one talks about it. So let’s go there, shall we?
The Hormonal Rollercoaster
So much change goes on in our bodies as we enter perimenopause and then come out the other side into post-menopause and it’s all to do with our changing hormones – most famously estrogen and progesterone – but there are other hormones at play here as well such as testosterone and knock-on effects with our cortisol (stress hormone), insulin (fat storing hormone) and thyroid.If you’ve been noticing changes ‘down there’ and a distinct disinterest in sex you’re not alone. It’s just that no one talks about it. So let’s go there, shall we? Click To Tweet
Your Va-Jay-Jay Is Changing
What you may not realise – or may have noticed but didn’t connect the dots – is your va-jay-jay is changing. That’s a term made famous by Ms Oprah by the way.
It can get burny and itchy and downright awful to live with. You may also experience more frequent urinary tract infections and bladder control issues. This is because declining estrogen makes us drier all-over (dry skin anyone?) – vagina included. And with dryness comes irritation, which is one of the reasons why sex can become painful.
Painful sex might be part of the reason we begin ‘having a headache’ when it comes to the bedroom. But it’s not the only reason. Our libido often sinks at this time. It’s all a byproduct of the decline of estrogen and testosterone. This can make us less sensitive ‘down there’ and the supply of blood to the vagina decreases affecting lubrication. Add in other signs of meno like insomnia, incontinence, depression and anxiety, and it’s quite understandable that we don’t feel too hot to trot.
That said some women get a new lease of life with no fear of pregnancy and the privacy of an empty nest.
The United States has a non-profit organisation called Healthy Women (for all stages of life) that delves deep into women’s issues – btw women around the globe aren’t too different from those in the US – and when they conducted a survey of vaginal changes for women in midlife they found:
- 40 percent experience vaginal dryness
- 8 percent experience urinary tract infections
- 12 percent experience vaginal itching
- 25 percent experience painful intercourse
They went on to say that the majority of those women (70 per cent) were unaware of the condition that might be causing the signs: vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA).
What is VVA?
VVA manifests as thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to the decline of estrogen. Diminished estrogen makes our tissues thinner, drier and more fragile. Ph levels change too which you can read about here.
What Can You Do?
- Regular sex helps keep the vagina healthy.
- We always recommend making use of coconut oil or sweet almond oil, it’s soothing and contains antimicrobial properties.
- A specific vaginal moisturiser may help.
- Your doctor may be able to prescribe vaginal estrogen therapy or testosterone treatment.
- Take a good quality probiotic.
- Eat foods high in probiotics such as yoghurt (look for acidophilus and/or lactobacillus on the label), sauerkraut, gherkins, kimchi.
- Stay away from commercial vaginal products like douches and sprays.
- Only use natural cleaners and unscented loo paper.
- The supplement DHEA is said to help.
Hope that helps.
As always please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions right here.
Disclaimer: This article should never take the place of medical advice. If you are experiencing extreme burning, itchiness, discharge, odour please see your GP.