Save the vaginas! My battle cry this Menopause Awareness month, it reminds us of the cold, hard facts: Menopause is out to steal our vaginas! If we let hormones (or lack thereof) have their way, they will dry out our vaginas and send them packing for the desert — and I’m not talking about Las Vegas!
Hence the formation of GLAMTM (Great Life After Menopause). I’m thrilled to be a key alliance spokesperson for this new women’s health awareness group, sponsored by Novo Nordisk, to help get women talking about menopause. All of us in GLAMTM (Great Life After Menopause) are women who have experienced menopause and weren’t afraid to speak up about it in order to get the help we needed and deserved! Over the years, we have learned how to keep our vaginas healthy and so can you!
Ladies, when it comes to the vagina, thin is out! Thinning and inflammation of the vaginal wall impacts many women during their menopausal journey. Vaginal atrophy comes unannounced and uninvited. The big E (estrogen) is responsible for maintaining the structure of the vaginal wall, elasticity of the tissues around the vagina, and production of vaginal fluid, according to vaginaldiscomfort.com.
Basically, estrogen keeps our vaginas healthy and working as Mother Nature intended. So when you’re driving down the menopausal highway and your estrogen tank is low, your vagina — not to mention your intimate relationship with your partner, quality of life, and even self-image — can take a huge hit.
It doesn’t have to be that way! GLAMTM (Great Life After Menopause) is here to help save your vaginas from menopause’s grip! Here’s how to start taking back your vaginal health:
Spot the Symptoms
While many women’s perimenopause and menopause journey comes tied with a bow of hot flashes and mood swings, vaginal atrophy often doesn’t begin until several years after the onset of menopause, worsening as the years go on.
The most common symptom of this vaginal thievery is dryness; when your estrogen levels decline, so can the moisture in your vag. What’s more, that dryness often goes skipping hand-in-hand along with itching, burning, painful sex, and even bleeding during intercourse. But perhaps most surprisingly, a less-than-supple vagina can be linked to urgent or painful urination every time the faucet runs. Why? Because the urethra can atrophy right along with the vagina! That can even mean having frequent urinary tract infections all the cranberry in the world can’t keep away.
If this is going on below your belt, it’s a good idea to visit vaginaldiscomfort.com and use the site’s vagina symptom tracker. You might not be able to wear it like you can a step tracker, but it does allow you to track your symptoms, their severity, and what has and hasn’t worked to relieve them.
Pow-Wow With Your Partner
Communication is the key to any healthy relationship, so don’t be embarrassed to tell your partner that you are having problems “down there.” The last thing your partner wants is for sex to be painful for you! Best of all, once you broach the subject, you can work together to regain your sex life.
Talk to Your Menopause Expert
While a bottle of lube can provide a quick fix in the bedroom, vaginal atrophy is a chronic condition and requires ongoing treatment to remedy the underlying cause. So if you find that you are lubed to the max, but your vagina is still clammed up, you owe it to your vagina to seek a menopause expert and save your vagina! A menopause expert is trained in the ins and outs of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms—including vaginal dryness and painful sex—and is your best bet at achieving a happy vagina once more. Check out the menopause experts listed on the North American Menopause Society website, request a referral from any great health care providers you know, or ask your friends to refer you to a health care provider who has helped them find hormone happiness. An examination will allow an expert to pinpoint the problem and help you find the best solution for your individual needs. There are treatment options: systemic estrogen therapy, local estrogen therapy (LET), and over-the-counter moisturizers. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; every woman is different. So, ask your health care provider about the treatment option that is best for you.
Treat Your Vagina Right
Menopause isn’t the only thing that can dry you out. Not getting enough blood (and the nutrients it carries) to your vagina can too. You ask, how does that happen? For one, cigarette smoking diminishes your blood circulation. This causes tissues, including those of the vagina, to not get enough blood flow or oxygen. This in turn, contributes to vaginal atrophy. What’s more — and best of all — sex can actually help keep your vagina from atrophying. Sexual activity with a partner (or even a sex toy!) increases blood flow below the belt, making your tissues more elastic and healthier, according to Mayo Clinic. Talk about “use it or lose it”!
While as women, we often stay hush-hush about our vaginas, we should actually be speaking up for them every chance we get. After all, we have them to thank for the great sex we have had, and for the lives and families we have born. So come on, ladies, let’s keep our vaginas healthy and give them the care they need and deserve!
Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
GLAM™ (Great Life After Menopause) is a trademark of Novo Nordisk FemCare AG
© 2013 Novo Nordisk All rights reserved. 0813-00017648-1 September 2013
MENOPAUSE MONDAYS GOOGLE HANGOUT SEPTEMBER 16TH-Tell us your menopause story, get free gifts, and hangout with me on September 16th!
September is Menopause Awareness Month, and we’re celebrating with a very special Menopause Awareness Month edition of Menopause Mondays!
On September 16th at 8:30 PM EST, Ellen will host a live and interactive Google Hangout. Hangout panelists will share their menopause stories, and Ellen will answer Hangout attendees’ questions about everything menopause!
Would you like a chance to be one of our live panelists during the Hangout? All you need is a computer with a microphone and a webcam. If you’ve got a menopause story to share, submit it to Ellen email@example.com by September 10th. Panelists will receive a choice of an autographed copy of Ellen’s book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness; a Menopause Mondays mouse pad; or a Menopause Mondays iPhone cover.
See you on September 16th!
“The Woman’s Guide to Managing Migraine- Understanding the Hormone Connection” by Susan Hutchinson, MD. Enter to win here.
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