Why am I Experiencing Painful Sex Now?

Why am I Experiencing Painful Sex Now?

painful sexAccording to the North American Menopause Society, between one-third and one-half of women experiencing perimenopause or menopause face sexual problems. Along with low libido, painful sex is a common problem. And because many women are uncomfortable talking to their healthcare provider about sex, it often becomes an ongoing issue.

The first step should be to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider who understands women’s unique needs to determine whether perimenopause or menopause are the likely cause. Other conditions like a urinary tract infection or yeast infection can make sex painful, so it’s important to rule out causes other than menopause. Usually simple questions about when the pain occurs and other symptoms can narrow down the cause of the problem. The good news is that there are steps you can take to make sex enjoyable again if menopause is the culprit.

Sex is painful now because of low estrogen levels caused by the natural hormonal fluctuations and dips that occur during menopause. Low estrogen also causes a lack of desire. Many women lose interest in sex or want it much less frequently than before the hormonal fluctuations began. Estrogen also helps keep the tissues in the vagina supple and lubricated, so when levels dip, blood flow to vaginal tissues is restricted, and dryness can become an uncomfortable problem that makes sex hurt.

Even if penetration isn’t painful enough to stop you from having sex, sometimes the effects of low estrogen and dryness aren’t felt until afterward. Soreness, a burning sensation that ranges from mild to severe, and sometimes even bleeding can appear after intercourse.

If you experience other symptoms like nausea, discharge that causes burning or itching, bloating, back or headache pain or breast tenderness, there could be other reasons for painful sex. It can sometimes be tricky to determine the cause on your own, because menopause often causes a host of side-effects, but your healthcare provider can help you determine if low estrogen is the cause.

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