Vaginal dryness during the menopause is one of the most common concerns associated with declining female sex hormones. It is estimated that one in four women experience vaginal dryness during menopause and typical symptoms include itching, painful intercourse as well as urinary discomfort. Not just confined during menopause, vaginal dryness can occur several years before the onset of menopause and for many well beyond menopause.
Glands located near the neck of the womb are responsible for producing a fluid that keeps the skin and tissues in the vagina moist and supple. The production of this fluid is directly dependant on the levels of oestrogen within the body and declining levels of oestrogen during menopause lead to vaginal dryness. Declining oestrogen levels are also responsible for the thinning and inflammation of the walls lining the vagina making them weak and vulnerable to both bacterial and fungal infections. To make matters worse, some women may also experience pain in the pelvic region as blood circulation decreases with declining oestrogen levels. For some women, the weakness in the walls of the vagina and the muscles surrounding it may also result in a problem of incontinence. All these problems can make life very difficult, depressing and debilitating.
Vaginal dryness (the side effects of atrophy) affects many post-menopausal women and also those taking anti-oestrogen breast cancer medication. ‘Tamoxifen caused me problems with vaginal soreness,’ emails one reader. ‘I spent so much money on creams and tablets but nothing worked. After taking it for a month, Sea Buckthorn Cellular Support has made a big difference to my life.’ Sibu Cellular Support Sea Buckthorn Oil, £19.99
TWO BOOKS, ONE FLAT TUM
The biggest concern that women fret about in swimsuit season is how to get a flat(ter) tummy. So I asked clinical nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, whose clients include actress Drew Barrymore and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, and yoga instructor Victoria Woodhall for their advice.
1. THE BEAUTY DETOX SOLUTION
Kimberly has written The Beauty Detox Solution (Harlequin UK, £12.99*), which I couldn’t put down. As well as banishing tummy bloat, she promises her programme will streamline your body, leave skin glowing, help you grow lustrous hair and strong nails – and you need never count calories again. By following her advice below, you will see a difference pretty quickly. Read More…
Q: It’s been a year since my last period and sex is so painful my partner and I have nearly given up. My doctor isn’t very helpful. What can I do?
A: Your problem is most likely due to vaginal atrophy (VA), which means the thinning and inflammation of the vaginal wall caused by a drop in oestrogen levels. Up to 45 per cent of postmenopausal women suffer from VA, according to a recent large-scale multinational study. It also found that 70 per cent of British women with VA avoided intimacy and over half said it had put them off sex altogether. Although it is so common, many women simply don’t know about VA and how it can be treated.
Symptoms of VA include vaginal dryness, soreness, itching and painful intercourse. ‘This is a huge problem that causes so much distress,’ says consultant gynaecologist Michael Dooley (thepoundbury clinic.co.uk). ‘The severe discomfort with intercourse can cause relationship problems.’ Read More…