Menopause is defined as the time 12 months after a woman has had her final period, or when the ovaries are permanently damaged or removed. Commonly this occurs between the ages of 40 to 58 (average age is 51yrs) as a natural aging process. After this time a women is known as post-menopausal. The peri-menopause is the transition time seen immediately before menopause when symptoms relating to ovary failure begin and up to 12 months after that final period. Menopausal symptoms are caused by the cessation or reduction in oestrogen that is produced by the ovaries. Symptoms vary between women. Some women luckily suffer only a few whilst others the whole range. These can include hot flushes, trouble sleeping, depression and vaginal symptoms known as " vulva- vaginal atrophy". In fact, all postmenopausal women suffer some degree of " vulva- vaginal atrophy". This is directly due to the lower oestrogen levels. Oestrogen helps to stimulate collagen production, which is found in every organ of the body. A lower level causes the vaginal walls and the outer area (vulva) to become thinner, less elastic (stretchy) and reduces blood flow to the areas. It also causes the pH of the vagina to change and thus increase the risk of vaginal infections. The lower oestrogen levels also lead to a thinner urethral lining and a weakened pelvic floor. This results in urinary symptoms. Women who suffer urinary and vaginal symptoms may also find that sexual activity levels can be affected.
When females don't have sexual intercourse on a regular basis their vaginas become shorter and narrower, so that when she does attempt vaginal penetration in the future she is likely to experience pain or discomfort. The fragile vulva and vaginal tissue can tear and bleed with the trauma of sex. This often deters women further from sexual activity. This vicious cycle can make women depressed and affect relationships with their partners.
Other causes of vaginal discomfort making sex difficult or painful include conditions such as vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) from infections and dermatitis from topical irritants such as soaps, condoms and hygiene products. Spasm of the vaginal walls, vagismus, results from fear of sex whether it be from previously experienced pain or negative sexual encounters. Lastly, urinary tract dysfunction from infections and prolapsed bladders may also impact on sexual experience.
In summary menopauses causes these symptoms:
- Vaginal wall laxity and prolapse
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal itch and irritability
- Recurrent vaginal infections
- Recurrent urinary symptoms of frequency, urgency and pain - stress incontinence (e.g. wee when sneeze)
- Recurrent urinary infections
- Deep and superficial pain on sex
- Loss of sexual sensitivity
- Scarring to vaginal walls
- Vaginal atrophy
Fortunately Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation can help with these symptoms.
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