Most women will go through ‘the change’ between the ages of 45 and 55. The symptoms can often include vaginal dryness and stress urinary incontinence, which can result in discomfort during sex, less desire to have sex and a difficulty in reaching orgasm. This could make you feel nervous about having sex with a new partner.
TJ Gibbs said: “Ironically, due to the hormonal changes in our bodies at 50, women can suffer from the same insecurities that they first experienced as teenagers.
However, there are plenty of options that can ease these symptoms, so your sex life doesn’t have to be affected.
You can apply water-based lubricants to both you and your partner before intercourse to relieve any discomfort or pain your dryness might cause. However, this is only a temporary solution and if the symptoms continue to persist or worsen, you should seek medical advice.
Dr Rekha Tailor, founder and medical director of Health & Aesthetics, said: “Vaginal dryness is such a common issue for women going through the menopause, but this doesn’t mean you should just accept this as a part of getting older.
“Menopause can have a direct impact on sex, which is a vital part of life for many women. It’s important not to suffer in silence as this could have a damaging effect on your self-esteem and happiness.”
Vaginal rejuvenation, also known as Femilift, is a procedure that uses a laser to stimulate collagen growth, which in turn helps to rebuild and tighten the vaginal tissue. The course of three treatments costs £3,000 but it is worth the investment as it can be a long-term solution to menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, painful sex and urinary incontinence.
The treatment is pain-free, with no side effects, and only takes up to 15 minutes. The results also last between 12 and 18 months.
“This procedure delivers a sense of relief to the patient and enables them to continue with their day-to-day lives without facing the disruption of menopausal symptoms,” Dr Tailor added.
“Vaginal rejuvenation can even improve the patient’s sex life by increasing sensitivity, tightness and lubrication.”
If you’re experiencing severe vaginal dryness, your GP may recommend vaginal oestrogen, which works to replace the oestrogen that the menopause is diluting inside your body.
Vaginal oestrogen is available in different forms, including pills (pessaries), vaginal creams and vaginal rings. It may be beneficial to continue using lubricants and vaginal moisturisers when you begin this treatment, before the oestrogen takes effect. Side effects of this treatment are rare, but can include vaginal itching and damage to latex condoms or diaphragms.
“All women react to each treatment differently, so it’s important to speak to medical professionals to determine which option is suitable for you,” Dr Tailor said.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
This form of treatment restores the hormones that your ovaries are no longer producing. Your GP might suggest it as an option, especially if you have a number of menopausal symptoms (hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats etc). However, HRT can result in a number of side effects, including vaginal bleeding, tender breasts, abdominal pain and headaches.
“It’s imperative that you don’t have sex until you’re comfortable,” TJ Gibbs said. “If you’re not ready, your body could actually be affected by sexual trauma even though you thought you were ready.
“The key to good sex when dating at 50 is to look for someone you want to wake up with, not just sleep with. Someone who appreciates all the benefits of the older version of you.”
If you’re worried how a new partner might react to the news that you’re going through menopause, wait until you feel comfortable in explaining your situation. If he or she’s worth your time, they will react respectfully and understand that you may want to take things slowly.