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Will I need to visit a specialist to treat my painful sex after menopause?

ANSWER

An internal medicine or family practice physician should be able to help your symptoms. But you may want to see an expert in menopause or sexual wellness.

Doctors who focus on female health include:

  • Gynecologists
  • OB/GYNs
  • Menopause specialists

To find a menopause practitioner near you, ask your primary care doctor for a referral. Or you can search for a provider through the North American Menopause Society at menopause.org.

If low self-image, stress, relationship issues, depression, or fear of pain make you less interested in sex, your doctor may want you to try:

  • Sex therapy
  • Talk therapy
  • Couples counseling

Visit AASECT.org to find a certified sexuality educator, counselor, or therapist.

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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