What is the cause?
When a women goes through the menopause her ovaries stop releasing eggs and her body produces less estrogen. As the levels of estrogen drop, the vaginal tissues can become thin and less lubrication is produced making sexual intercourse uncomfortable or even painful.
When intercourse is painful and uncomfortable many women feel less inclined to make love and some find that what was once a very enjoyable part of their lives stops altogether. The medical term for painful sex is 'dyspareunia'.
What can help vaginal dryness?
There is no need for women to suffer in silence. There are various treatment options to choose from.
It is a good idea to talk to your GP, practice nurse or local sexual health clinic before making a decision. It is important that somebody examines you just to make sure that there is nothing seriously wrong that could be causing the discomfort.
One simple solution to the problem is to use a lubricating jelly available over the counter in chemist shops. KY Jelly® is water based and quite slippery. Others are available which may be easier to use and include YES®, Sylk®, Replens MD®, Hyalofemme® and Regelle®. These are available
SYLK® is a water based natural moisturiser (kiwi plant extract) designed specifically for the vagina. It has the same pH as normal vaginal secretions (slightly acidic). It can be used safely with condoms. You can buy Sylk from High Street chemists or on line and it is available on an NHS prescription. See the the Sylk website for more details.
YES® products are certified as organic. Some are water and others are plant oil based. Only water based products are safe with condoms. See the YES web site for more details. YES water based products are available on NHS prescription.
REPLENS MD® is a long lasting vaginal moisturiser which can last for to three days. It is safe for use with condoms. See the Replens website for more details.
HYALOFEMME® is another long acting moisturiser. It is based on hyaluronic acid, a natural lubricating and moisturising substance found in the skin and around the joints. It is safe for use with condoms. It is available on the High Steet, on line or with an NHS prescription. See the Hyalofemme website for more details.
REGELLE® too is long lasting water based vaginal moisturiser which can last for to three days. It is safe for use with condoms. It is available on the High Steet, on line or with an NHS prescription. See Korea Health website for more details.
This is available as vaginal tablets, vaginal creams or as a vaginal ring which can be inserted directly into the vagina. Unlike HRT, they only restore estrogen t your vagina rather than your whole body, reducing the risk of side effects. They are only available on prescription.
HRT is designed to give women extra estrogen to keep the level of hormones in the blood fairly constant, topping up the body’s natural supply. It is usually taken in tablet form, though it can be applied as a patch or gel or inserted as an implant under the skin.
HRT can help with all the symptoms caused by lack of estrogen associated with the menopause including vaginal dryness. It is available on prescription only.