In my previous blog, I stated that sexuality is an issue greatly sought for by Maltese menopausal women despite that certain taboos and stereotypes may still prevail in our society. By accepting the past and gaining new psychological awareness of the present, one can experience a smoother transition into menopause. This is crucial as although it is a time of physical challenges, one tends to be more personally, professionally and financially stable. At this stage one can create a new dimension on how to live life oriented more around their needs by being less concerned about what others think of them. Pursuing a fulfilling sex life in this period helps a woman to stay in touch with her body and deal with the changes encountered at menopause with greater awareness and serenity.
Nevertheless, such changes may hinder the potential of living a fulfilling sex life. Hormonal changes make it more difficult for vaginal lubrication to occur. The woman’s vulvar area is very sensitive and sexual intercourse without adequate lubrication can be very damaging for this same area. Likewise, the vaginal mucosa is also extremely sensitive. Lack of lubrication during penetration can cause small abrasions, which may not only be painful but are also a predisposing factor for bacterial infections. In fact, menopausal women frequently share that they experience burning sensations, discomfort and irritation during sexual intercourse. Women may experience pain similar to pinpricks at the entrance of the vagina due to poor lubrication. Painful sexual intercourse can bring about a decreased desire for sex due to vaginal dryness.
To counteract this issue it is especially important to use a water-based vaginal lubricant to facilitate penetration. Vaginal dryness is widespread among both childbearing women as well as menopausal women. Integrating the use of a natural vaginal lubricant and a positive attitude together with Kegel exercises, assists in easing this physical and psychological hurdle. Applying these exercises daily helps women gain greater awareness of their body and can help to address physical and spiritual issues related to menopause in a more peaceful way.