Menopause is defined as the permanent cessation of ovarian estrogen production. This results in absence of menses and many menopausal symptoms. The average age of natural menopause is 50-51 but can vary by up to 5 years either way.
One of the more bothersome symptoms of menopause is known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause. This constellation of symptoms includes vaginal dryness, vulvar and vaginal thinning and narrowing, discomfort or pain with intercourse, decreased libido, yellowish discharge, urinary incontinence, and general pelvic irritation.
Obviously, these symptoms can prove extremely bothersome, and their severity varies among different women. Thankfully, our providers can help women manage, improve, and often resolve some of these symptoms.
At Michigan Women’s Care, we provide the menopausal woman the most advanced options for improved quality of life. First, we educate our patients about the physiology of their symptoms, and then we offer lifestyle and medicinal options. Those include:
- Regular use of vaginal moisturizers, such as Replens or K-Y SILK-E, several times a week. Vaginal moisturizers are different from lubricants. They help keep the vagina moist all the time, not just during sex.
- Regular use of vaginal lubricants during intimacy.
- Pelvic floor therapy, which may include vaginal dilator therapy.
- Use of vaginal estrogen to help replenish the moisture and improve the compliance and pliability of the vaginal canal. Vaginal estrogens can be provided via tablets, creams, soft gel inserts or a ring. Vaginal estrogen comes in small doses that don’t increase the levels of estrogen in other parts of the body very much. In fact, these products contain less estrogen than the average birth control pill. Many of the vaginal estrogens only need to be taken twice weekly, and the ring can be used for 90 days consecutively. In recent years, newer formulations such as Imvexxy and Intrarosa have revolutionized the treatment options for these uncomfortable symptoms.
- Another newer option is Osphena, the first and only once-daily, oral, non-hormonal treatment for moderate to severe vaginal dryness and/or moderate to severe painful intercourse, symptoms of changes in and around your vagina due to menopause.
Menopause does not have to hurt, feel dry, or interfere with intimacy. At Michigan Women’s Care, we can help you to diminish the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and return to a more youthful form.