Carole, 49, says she used to have an "incredible" sex life, but since she started menopause, she says intercourse has become so painful that she feels she has to endure it, rather than enjoy it.
Painful sex, or dyspareunia, is a common symptom of menopause. It causes a persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse. Reduced estrogen levels during menopause can cause vaginal thinning and dryness, which are the most common cause of dyspareunia. And it can get worse if left untreated.
OB-GYN Dr. Ricki Pollycove explains that women need to speak up about the pain they are experiencing. "The important thing is that women need to know that there are non-estrogen medications and oral medications that can treat this problem and really get rid of the pain, but they need to talk with their doctor and see what medications are appropriate to make sure the side effect, risk/benefit ratio is appropriate for them," she says.
For more information about painful intercourse due to menopause, go to FindingtheWords.com.