Why Sex Can Be Painful After Menopause

Painful Sex With Menopause: Why It Happens And How To Fix It

Menopause is the natural transition in women from a period of fertility to the conclusion of ovulation and menstruation. Menopausal changes include a shift in hormones, with the greatest change occurring when the ovaries stop producing estrogen.

While some other parts of the body do continue to produce small amounts of estrogen, the sudden disruption can cause the symptoms most women associate with menopause: hot-flashes, night sweats, irritability, and weight gain.

Menopausal Symptoms List

While menopause is a normal biological change, these symptoms can affect a woman’s quality of life. Lack of sleep, brain fog, and painful intercourse are all commonly experienced with menopause.

Painful Intercourse is often a repercussion of declined estrogen levels leading to decreased circulation of blood flow and oxygen to the pelvic organs and the walls of the vagina.

This leads to tissue in the walls of the vagina becoming thinner and more delicate, and thus more easily irritated. Additionally, overall muscle tone decreases, leading to changes in the pelvic floor muscles.

The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs (the bladder, uterus, and rectum). This lack of strength and can lead to a sense of pressure in the pelvic floor and a decline in the elasticity of the muscles, making penetration and sex more difficult and painful.

Pelvic Pain Point

The good news is that these symptoms can be alleviated with natural remedies. Here are 4 Natural Ways to treat painful sex associated with menopause:

  1. Treat Vaginal and vulvar dryness with vulvar balm such as Intimate Rose’s Enchanted Rose Feminine balm. The sensitive skin around the opening of the vagina including the labia, vulvar skin, and base of the vagina can become red, irritated, dry, and highly sensitive during and after menopause. Just as you might use a hand cream for dry, cracking hands, or lip balm on burnt or dry lips, vulvar balm can help to alleviate tender intimate skin. Enchanted rose features all natural and organic ingredients including coconut oil, beeswax, sunflower oil, and seabuckthorn to heal irritated, red, and dry skin. Enchanted Rose is made in the U.S. and can also alleviate bumps from razor burn or waxing.

Enchanted Rose Balm

  1. Use generous amounts of personal lubricant.Most women are not using enough personal lubricant during sex. It is recommended that women experiencing discomfort or pain during sex use at least two tablespoons of personal lubricant. It is helpful to load at least a tablespoon into a baby medicine suspension dropper and use it to push the personal lubricant further back and up into the vaginal canal for improved lubrication throughout. A water based lubricant such as Velvet Rose Personal Lubricant is recommended to provide a non-toxic and more natural feel without harmful ingredients.

  1. Use Vaginal Dilators to retrain the pelvic floor muscles for pain free sex. Vaginal dilators, also referred to as vaginal trainers, are used to restore vaginal width, depth, and elasticity to allow for pain free sex. These unique pelvic floor exercisers are also commonly recommended after certain types of cancer treatments such as radiation and surgery. Other common conditions that benefit from use of vaginal dilators include menopause, vaginismus, muscle spasms around the opening of the vagina, all of which can occur following menopause. Vaginal dilators can be used with specific breathing exercises to better train the body to relax during sex to eliminate pain. They come in progressively larger sizes and can be purchased individually or in a group to allow for progression to meet your goals.
  1. See a pelvic physical therapist. A physical therapist specializing in pelvic health is specifically trained to treat muscular changes associated with menopause to cure pelvic pain. The pelvic physical therapist will conduct a thorough examination and discuss your medical history to create a plan of care specific to your needs. To find a pelvic PT in your area visit: Enter your zip code and find a qualified pelvic PT in your area.

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By Dr. Amanda Olson, DPT, PRPC