Menopause Q&A by Dr. Stöppler
Many women experience some discomfort during sexual intercourse around the time of menopause. As estrogen levels decline, the lining of the vagina may become drier and thinner, often leading to burning, itching, or pain during sexual intercourse.
However, there are ways to decrease this discomfort and make sexual activity more enjoyable. Your doctor can help you decide what is best for you to help manage these symptoms. Hormone therapy is the most reliable treatment for menopausal symptoms, particularly for vaginal discomfort. Depending on your personal and family medical history, your doctor may prescribe estrogen (in the lowest effective dose) to help manage your symptoms, including vaginal dryness or discomfort.
If you do not want to take hormone tablets, there are also tablets, rings, and creams containing estrogen that are available for local application to the vagina. Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants can also provide relief from discomfort associated with intercourse. For more please read the Menopause and Sex article.
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Last Editorial Review: 12/13/2006