Many women may experience decreased sexual function later in life. If you’re going through menopause, about 10% of people might have the same problems. As many people in the Menopause stage of life experience, vaginal dryness, itchiness, and painful sex become more common. However, you can fix this with water-based lubricants or vaginal estrogen treatments.
Vaginal estrogen can also help to reduce a host of unpleasant, urinary symptoms associated with menopause like bladder infections, frequency of urination, and impotence. However, it is not useful in preventing accidents or the feeling of urgency. Providing estrogen just to the vagina does not seem to lead to an increased risk of cancer to the inner uterine lining (endometrial cancer) in the same way that oral estrogen therapy can.
Ironically, your preferred form of sexual arousal may help with vaginal symptoms as it increases pelvic blood flow. Some people find they end up enjoying their sex life more after menopause. Without periods or worries of pregnancy, many people no longer have kids at home and are free to be more spontaneous!
This post was authored by Oriana Shaw, medical student at the University of Alberta. The post was reviewed by Yuliya Koledenko, MD, CCFP, BSc, Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc and Erin Manchuk, BScPharm, BCGP.
Suckling, J., Lethaby, A., & Kennedy, R. (2006). Local oestrogen for vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4, CD001500. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001500.pub2