Over my time in general practice and private practice I have heard the Vagina called all sorts. ‘Flower, tuppence lady bits, flue, down there’. I know what women mean of course but why are we so scared about saying the word?
Dryness, itch and painful intercourse are symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause and unfortunately, unlike hot sweats and brain fog, the symptoms of G.S.M (genitourinary symptoms of the menopause” don’t get better after the transition through the menopause – they get worse!
The delicate cells in the vagina change, lubrication is reduced, the PH and bacteria that normally keep the vagina healthy also change and eventually, the vagina gets shorter, narrowed and the ‘rugae’ or folds in the vagina diminish making it less stretchy and liable to tear during foreplay or intercourse.
I don’t know whether it’s because women can’t see it, don’t understand it or are too embarrassed to discuss it but the vaginal changes of the menopause need to be discussed and the symptoms shared with your GP or health care professional. The symptoms are easily managed with HRT, vaginal oestrogen, vaginal moisturisers and often all 3 together.
So, what are the benefits of telling your GP you want to discuss your vagina???
- Less itch, burn, soreness or bleeding – remember all vaginal bleeding after the menopause should be reported to your health care professional though.
- Sex will be more comfortable and pleasurable and as such you may notice an improvement in libido.
- You are less likely to be treated for ‘thrush’ or other ‘infections’ – remember these are rare after the perimenopause and menopause.
- You will have a funny story to share with your girlfriends over dinner about the day you used the ‘v’ word at the Doctors!
Let’s get talking ladies, no one needs to suffer with these symptoms.