Medicines may be used in treating certain conditions that contribute to
For women who have pain in the area around the opening of the vagina (vulvodynia), putting on lidocaine gel shortly before sex may be helpful. Talk to your doctor about how to use the gel safely.
Estrogen for postmenopausal women
If you only have
vaginal dryness and irritation (and not other symptoms such as hot flashes),
you can use a limited amount of
estrogen in a cream, tablet, or ring in the vagina.
The daily estrogen makes your vaginal lining thicker.
Many women find that using a cream or tablet twice a week is enough. This may
increase vaginal tone and lubrication, which will decrease
vulvar dryness, irritation, and shrinkage (atrophy).
If you also have other
menopausal symptoms that affect physical and mental
well-being, talk to your doctor about taking daily estrogen.
Estrogen can increase the blood flow in the
vagina and reduce hot flashes and other
Estrogen therapy or
estrogen-progestin therapy can be oral (pills),
vaginal, or transdermal (with a patch). In a small number of women, hormone
therapy can cause heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, dangerous blood
clots, stroke, and dementia. Talk to your doctor about whether this therapy is
right for you.
may play a part in a woman's sex drive and satisfaction. Your ovaries make
testosterone throughout your life. Women have
the most testosterone in early adulthood. Testosterone levels drop by half
between the early 20s and the early 40s.
A woman who has had surgery to remove her uterus (hysterectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy) will suddenly be in menopause. She will have an immediate drop in both estrogen and testosterone. She may then have a problem with sexual desire. If so, her doctor may suggest hormone therapy.
Ospemifene (Osphena) is used to reduce vaginal changes that can make sex painful.
Sildenafil (Viagra), which is used to treat
erectile dysfunction in men, is being studied for use in women who have arousal problems but has not been shown to work.3