Sex After Menopause: What Women Should Know
When asked about sex in a survey, 47 out of 51 postmenopausal women responded that having an active sex life is important to them. Unfortunately, some women find that sex can become painful after menopause.
In the Women’s EMPOWER survey, 81% of women were not aware that VVA is a medical condition. More than two-thirds of respondents were not familiar or only somewhat familiar with most of the prescription VVA products.
What makes sex painful after menopause ?
Painful sex, also called dyspareunia, can result from vaginal changes, which can occur when a woman ‘s estrogen level decreases during menopause and her vaginal walls become thinner and less lubricated. Fifty-two percent of women from the same online sexual health survey said they avoided intercourse because of vaginal discomfort, and 68 percent said they attempted to hide their symptoms from their partner.
“I was upset about the pain I experienced during sex after I went through menopause,” said Charlotte. “Fortunately, I have a great relationship with my doctor and was able to discuss appropriate treatment options to help ease my symptoms.”
While Charlotte was quick to work with her physician, many women are reluctant to discuss the vaginal symptoms of menopause with their doctors. In fact, even though 63 percent of postmenopausal women in the same survey reported vaginal discomfort, only 40 percent discussed this discomfort or dryness with their health care professional. However, it’s important for women to know that their health care professional can address these symptoms by treating the underlying causes.
Recently, the FDA approved a low-dose regimen of PREMARIN® (conjugated estrogens) Vaginal Cream to treat moderate to severe postmenopausal dyspareunia. The first vaginal estrogen therapy approved by the FDA for this use, PREMARIN Vaginal Cream doesn’t mask symptoms. When used as prescribed, it can restore tissues in the vaginal wall and relieve dryness and painful intercourse.
“In my practice, I often see postmenopausal women who have vaginal dryness but don’t realize that it’s treatable,” says Dr. Gloria Bachmann,* director of the Women’s Health Institute and chief of OB/GYN at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, N.J. “I encourage my patients to discuss their symptoms with me, so that together we can determine how to best address them because treatment options are available.”
PREMARIN Vaginal Cream can be prescribed in a variety of dosing regimens, including twice-weekly with a low volume of cream (0.5 g), which gives health care professionals flexibility in treating moderate to severe postmenopausal dyspareunia. Women should discuss their personal and family history, risks and benefits of treatment, and their current medications with their doctors.
“The results of these surveys should send a clear message to healthcare providers that they need to initiate
education and discussions with their postmenopausal patients so that they can better understand VVA
symptoms as well as their options for treatment,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.
For more information, including the full Patient Information and a $15 coupon, visit www.premarinvaginalcream.com.
Important Safety Information About PREMARIN Vaginal Cream:
What is the most important information you should know about PREMARIN Vaginal Cream (an estrogen mixture)? Estrogens may increase the chance of getting cancer of the uterus. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away while you are using PREMARIN Vaginal Cream. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the uterus (womb). Your health care professional should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause.
Hormone changes causes the pain
Do not use estrogens with or without progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia. Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your chance of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood clots. Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women age 65 years or older. You and your health care professional should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with PREMARIN Vaginal Cream.
PREMARIN® Vaginal Cream is used after menopause to treat menopausal changes in and around the vagina and to treat painful intercourse caused by menopausal changes of the vagina.
PREMARIN Vaginal Cream should not be used if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, have or had cancer of the breast or uterus, had a stroke or heart attack, have or had blood clots or liver problems, are allergic to any of the ingredients in PREMARIN Vaginal Cream, or think you may be pregnant.
The most commonly reported side effects of PREMARIN Vaginal Cream include headache, infection, abdominal pain, back pain, accidental injury, and vaginitis.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For more information, read the article on WebMD.
*Disclosure: Dr. Bachmann is a consultant for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the maker of PREMARIN Vaginal Cream.