Does Menopause Make You More Sensitive to Pain?

Medically Reviewed on 10/11/2022
Does Menopause Make You More Sensitive to Pain
The hormonal fluctuations that accompany menopause may cause chronic pain

Menopause can make you more sensitive to pain due to hormonal fluctuations, especially changes in estrogen levels. Studies have shown that women going through menopause are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic pain.

Pain during intercourse is a common symptom of menopause. During menopause, your estrogen levels drop, resulting in vaginal dryness that can make sex uncomfortable or painful. 

Other symptoms of menopause can also worsen chronic pain. These symptoms may include weight gain, sleep problems, mood swings, and depression.

12 ways to manage pain during menopause

Chronic pain in women going through menopause puts them at risk for developing a dependency on opioids and other pain medications. Experts suggest finding ways to manage chronic pain with other remedies:

  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen can offer mild pain relief.
  2. Prescription drugs: Gabapentin is effective at providing pain relief in cases of severe chronic pain.
  3. Hormone replacement therapy: Ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy, which may help reduce dryness and reduce discomfort during sex.
  4. Hot or cold treatment: Applying an electric heating pad, hot water bag, or ice pack to the affected area for 10-15 minutes around three to four times a day can help soothe pain.
  5. Electronic stimulation: Applying an electrical current on the affected area can help block pain signals, strengthen muscles, and improve blood circulation.
  6. Vaginal lubricants: Over-the-counter vaginal lubricants can help prevent pain caused by sexual intercourse.
  7. Topical creams: Applying topical creams containing estrogen may help relieve vaginal dryness, itching, and painful sex.
  8. Relaxation techniques: Yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness meditation can help alleviate pain and manage menopause symptoms.
  9. Hydration: Adequate hydration can help combat vaginal dryness and associated pain.
  10. Regular exercise: Aim to stay physically active since a sedentary lifestyle will only worsen menopausal symptoms. Exercise encourages the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, which lowers stress levels and helps improve mood.
  11. Hobbies: Take up a hobby you enjoy that can help you stay calm and relaxed, whether it is dancing, singing, gardening, painting, etc.
  12. Sleep hygiene: Lack of sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. To get deep, quality sleep, practice good sleeping habits, such as avoiding caffeine, smoking, and alcohol close to bedtime and staying away from digital screens at least an hour before bedtime.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/11/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Image

AAAS. "Menopause symptoms nearly double the risk of chronic pain." <https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/800427#>.

Shaw, G. "The Link Between Menopause and Chronic Pain." WebMD. <https://www.webmd.com/menopause/features/menopause-chronic-pain-link>.