By Ayana Byrd
Have you ever wondered why we kiss? It's actually a strange way to spend your time lips smooshed together, breath (good or bad) mingling, and let's not even get into the tongue action. Yet we love it. We cheer when movie characters seal their happily-ever-afters with a smooch. A bodies-pressed-together kiss can make you remember why you adore the man who was annoying you just a minute ago. Why is that? "For some women, kissing is even more intimate than intercourse," says...
"Immediately after recovering from the surgery when I found
out it was OK for me to start back having sex, I realized that it didn't feel
comfortable," Brown says. "I was dry as a bone. It was awful. I was
actually irritated just from touching my underwear, and I was avoiding
Brown was suffering from atrophic vaginitis, a condition in which the vagina becomes dry
and overly delicate in response to declining levels of the female hormone
estrogen, says Andrew Kaunitz, MD. This decrease in estrogen happens naturally
around menopause and temporarily while nursing a baby. But the
hormone also drops off quite sharply in women who have surgeries like the one
Brown had, especially when their ovaries, the glands that produce estrogen, are
The changes women will notice are quite visible, says Gloria
Bachmann, MD, associate dean for women's
health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J.
"One of the first signs one sees on pelvic
examination is that the vaginal area is very dry, it's very pale, and it
loses the wrinkling that most younger women have," she says. "As it
progresses, the vaginal area gets thinner and smoother, and it easily bleeds.
... The degree of it is sometimes variable. A 50-year-old who comes in today to
see me may have horrible symptoms, whereas another 50-year-old may not be at
that point and may still have some lubrication."
All these changes can make atrophic vaginitis, "a very
important but frequently not discussed caused of female sexual
dysfunction," says Kaunitz, professor and assistant chairman of the
department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida Health
Science Center in Jacksonville and director of menopausal services for the
University of Florida Medical Women's Center.