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What does your doctor need to know to treat painful sex after menopause?

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You should tell your doctor how long you’ve had pain and dryness. The length and type of symptoms you have will steer your doctor toward the best treatment. It can be helpful for you to describe how it hurts. Is there pain at the opening of your vagina? Or is it deeper inside? Do you have aches that linger after sex is over?

Discuss any drugs that you take. Certain medicine, like antihistamines, can lead to overall dryness in the body. Some antidepressants can lower your sex drive or make it hard to have an orgasm. Your doctor can help you decide if you should stop or switch medicine.

SOURCES:

Lauren Streicher, MD, clinical professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Northwestern University School of Medicine; founder and director, Northwestern Medicine Center for Menopause, Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Health.

Kathleen Green, MD, assistant professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Florida College of Medicine.

Alyssa Dweck, MD, gynecologist, CareMount Medical Group; medical consultant, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ellen Barnard, MSW, certified sexuality educator; co-owner, A Woman’s Touch Sexuality Resource Center, Madison, WI.

Menopause: “The impact of genitourinary syndrome of menopause on well-being, functioning, and quality of life in postmenopausal women,” “Efficacy of intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on moderate to severe dyspareunia and vaginal dryness, symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, and of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause.” 

Journal of Women’s Health: “Female Sexual Health: Barriers to Optimal Outcomes and a Roadmap for Improved Patient-Clinician Communications.”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine: “What we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about sex: Results of a national survey of United States obstetrics/gynecologists.”

Healthfinder.gov: “Menopause: Questions for the doctor.”

National Institute on Aging: “Sex and Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms.”

Mayo Clinic: “Women’s Wellness: Painful sex after menopause,” “Ospemifene (oral route),” “Sexual Dysfunction.”  

Cleveland Clinic: “Vaginal Dryness: Care and Treatment,” “5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Don’t ignore vaginal dryness or pain,” “Bleeding after menopause: Get it checked out.”

The North American Menopause Society: “Effective Treatments for Sexual Problems.”

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on January 30, 2020

SOURCES:

Lauren Streicher, MD, clinical professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Northwestern University School of Medicine; founder and director, Northwestern Medicine Center for Menopause, Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Health.

Kathleen Green, MD, assistant professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Florida College of Medicine.

Alyssa Dweck, MD, gynecologist, CareMount Medical Group; medical consultant, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ellen Barnard, MSW, certified sexuality educator; co-owner, A Woman’s Touch Sexuality Resource Center, Madison, WI.

Menopause: “The impact of genitourinary syndrome of menopause on well-being, functioning, and quality of life in postmenopausal women,” “Efficacy of intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) on moderate to severe dyspareunia and vaginal dryness, symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, and of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause.” 

Journal of Women’s Health: “Female Sexual Health: Barriers to Optimal Outcomes and a Roadmap for Improved Patient-Clinician Communications.”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine: “What we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about sex: Results of a national survey of United States obstetrics/gynecologists.”

Healthfinder.gov: “Menopause: Questions for the doctor.”

National Institute on Aging: “Sex and Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms.”

Mayo Clinic: “Women’s Wellness: Painful sex after menopause,” “Ospemifene (oral route),” “Sexual Dysfunction.”  

Cleveland Clinic: “Vaginal Dryness: Care and Treatment,” “5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Don’t ignore vaginal dryness or pain,” “Bleeding after menopause: Get it checked out.”

The North American Menopause Society: “Effective Treatments for Sexual Problems.”

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on January 30, 2020

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Is it OK to have sex while I’m having treatment for painful sex after menopause?

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