Painful Sex After Menopause: Cheryl Hines Starts a New Conversation

The Emmy-nominated actress is using humor to help spread the word: having painful sex after menopause does not have to be a painful and uncomfortable conversation.

The Emmy-nominated actress is using humor to help spread the word: having painful sex after menopause does not have to be a painful and uncomfortable conversation.

A common problem that is not commonly talked about

According to the North American Menopause Society, the average menopausal age for women in North America is around 51 years.

After menopause, hormonal changes can lead to a VVA that causes a variety of physical changes in the vagina, such as loss of vaginal tissue, lubrication and flexibility. These changes can also cause dryness, irritation, frequent urination and painful sexual intercourse.

While many women are aware that hot flashes and night sweats are symptoms of menopause, Dr. Marla Shapiro, an expert in family medicine and menopause, says the data shows that 62 percent of the postmenopausal women surveyed were not familiar with the VVA. Of those who knew about the disease, half only noticed it after experiencing symptoms.

“Of the 32 million women who suffer [VVA], 50 percent of them are afraid of having sex and will make excuses not to have sex. “Another 25 percent think they will never have sex again, and less than 7 percent of these women are treated with safe and effective therapies,” Shapiro told Healthline. “We are not receiving the message that there are options.”

Shapiro joined the campaign with Hines in the hope that women will recognize the disease, talk about it and, most importantly, receive treatment for it.

“We know that when the Women’s Health Initiative came out more than a decade ago, women feared hormones in general and mistakenly led women to believe that there are no safe options for them as they go through the transition from perimenopause to menopause. Said Shapiro.

Some women may experience a progressive loss of estrogen, and may be three or four years in menopause before experiencing pain during sex, she says.

“They may think that their symptom is not part of menopause and they think it’s part of aging,” Shapiro said, noting that this is exactly the wrong message women should be receiving. “The message must be that you can empower it to ask it. Maybe if you talk to your friends and you realize you’re not the only one, that will make you feel a little more comfortable. Yes, have a bit of humor about it, but also believe enough in yourself to get the information you need. ”

This is the basis behind the video of the Hines campaign.

“One of the most difficult things about this [condition] is that, for a long time, women feel that it is just happening to them, so it is difficult for them to raise them,” said Hines. “If you feel like you’re alone and it’s unusual, it’s hard to talk about that, but if you know that other people are experiencing it, I think that makes the conversation easier.”

It signals other conversations that women often have during the early stages of their lives, such as puberty, pregnancy and childbirth.

“Women should feel as comfortable talking about this as we do with having babies and getting married and other events in our lives,” said Hines. “This is just another natural part of life.”

To take action

Shapiro wants all women to know they have the right to have sex that is not painful.

“If you do not get information about what your options are, it will not only affect your physical health, but also your emotional health, your self-esteem and the intimacy of your partner,” he said.

She suggests talking with your health care provider about the safe and effective treatment options available, such as estrogen, non-estrogen and local therapies.

“Make it part of your agenda. “It’s possible that your health care provider is as concerned about your cholesterol and blood pressure as it is about your heart, that asking about painful sex does not even appear,” Shapiro said. “If it’s not on your own agenda, and your health care provider does not mention it, it’s a conversation that will never happen, we want this to be as important as the sexual health of men.”

As a woman in her 50s, this feeling resonates with Hines.

“[Being with your doctor] is a time when you have a private place and you can talk about anything. However, women are still afraid to mention it. “At least, if I’m empowering women to talk to their friends or health professionals, then I feel really good because women should not have painful sex if they can help it,” she said.

And when all else fails, using humor to give him the courage to speak, may be just what he needs.

“When you can interject humor in a situation, it makes everyone feel a little more comfortable and that people feel comfortable. So, it always feels like a good way to go, “said Hines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *