In this piece, I’m talking briefly about the pelvic floor and the vagina, two other areas where you may notice some changes as you start the peri-menopause.
OK, so this may not strictly be a symptom of the menopause (peri or otherwise) but it isn’t going to get any better as we approach that stage of our lives. There are oestrogen receptors in our bladder which means that the normal control we previously had may go totally out the window and we find ourselves needing to pee much more than normal.
If you suffer generally from a weak pelvic floor (after childbirth for example), I am told a visit to a Women’s Health Physio will put you straight. Here in SW London there is the White Hart Clinic which claims (I was there when she said so!) that it would take around 5 or 6 sessions of specialist physio to get it working properly again. They run a Menopause MOT as well as a Post Natal MOT. Check out if there is a similar women’s health specialist in your area. There may be no need for you to do star jumps with your legs together anymore.:)
Yes, here we go again, that old chestnut – oestrogen. Oestrogen keeps our vaginas lovely and plump and moist and full. As our bodies start to produce less oestrogen (anything from late thirties onwards), you may notice some changes down there. However, it appears they are more likely to hit us more in our early fifites, when we are fully post-menopausal.
Soreness : The lining of the vagina becomes thinner which means sex can be extremely painful. This doesn’t happen to everyone of course but if you think you might be suffering then there is available to us girls, a form of topical oestrogen (pessaries or cream) which will stop this. The Friday night love-in still has hope. Have a chat with your GP to find out more. If you are on full blown HRT, you can still take this alongside, apparently.
Dryness: I sat in on an extremely frank and open discussion about dry cracked labia at a seminar the other week. I know…sounds horrendous doesn’t it…the labia, not the seminar I mean. It seems there is help at hand in the form of potions to ease the situation. There are a few companies who produce good quality products. One of them is this YESYESYES.org. They manufacture a range of plant based oils and lubricants which can ease both soreness and dryness. They are oestrogen-free, paraben-free, glycerine-free, ph balanced and the website testimonials certainly give the impression that one’s sex life need not be fun-free.
These products were designed and formulated by two women Sarah Brooks and Susi Lennox who were both working for pharmaceutical companies at the time. Pfizer were launching Viagra. The two women realised that there may soon be ….er…conflict between increased desire and sexual performance of men in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and their partners…whose vaginas simply weren’t going to be up to it.
Hope your toes aren’t curling too much.