Our hair gets grey with age, we get wrinkles and a bit of a middle-age spread. But did you know that our Vagina's change too? After Menopause you may notice your vulva looks a bit different....
Ever wonder just what happens to your vagina (and vulva) after Menopause has kicked in? Well if if you NEVER wondered that - it is a totally facinating subject so let's dive in! Today we will go through all the changes you can expect, what you can do about any issues and more!
During Perimenopause (the menopause before MENOPAUSE), your body produces less of the sex hormone estrogen. Because of this dip in estrogen in our bodies, the tissues in the vulva and the lining of the vagina start to 'atrophy'. This means that the lining of our vagina gets thinner, drier and has less elasticity than before. This means that sex can become painful if you don't use a good dollop of lube.
Before you freak out (because 'Atrophy' is a bloody scary word!), this is a very gradual process. Look lube makes sex better, whether you are young or mature aged. But it is SO IMPORTANT for women approaching menopause to use lube. The thing is, regardless of whether your partner is a man, a woman or a vibrator, lube will make you more comfortable, and in turn will make THEM more comfortable, although I don't think your vibrator will really care!
Another interesting fact about how your vagina changes after menopause, is that if you aren't engaging in penetrative sex or penetrative masturbation of any kind, your vagina can become 'shorter and narrower'. This again is going to lead to painful sex if the times comes and you do use your vagina again. So girls, sex and masturbation are important.
Continuing to have penetrative sex during menopause can keep your vagina walls thicker, moister and 'longer' - so use it or lose it!
Your Vagina Becomes More Alkaline
A normal pre-menopausal vagina is naturally acidic and usually sits between 3.8 and 4.5. But with the loss of estrogen in the body, during Menopause it is normal for your vagina to become more alkaline. This can make you more susceptible to urinary tract infections, and may even result in vaginitis.
Have this checked out right away by your Doctor who can recommend a pH-balanced vaginal products.
Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Can Become More Lax
Pelvic Floor muscles are SO IMPORTANT. You exercise your body, and your mind, why wouldn't you exercise the 'basket' that helps you have orgasms? If you are stuck for ideas on just how to exercise your pelvic floor muscles, check out our article on the Best Kegel Exercisers on the Market.
Australia's best selling Pelvic Floor Exerciser is the Elvie Pelvic Floor Trainer. It uses an app to record the stregth of your 'pelvic floor contractions' so you can see your progress.
A strong pelvic floor will stop urinary incontinence, it will increase the blood flow to your genitals (make achieving orgasm easier) and supports both a healthy bowel and healthy vagina! And we all want a happy and healthy vagina!
Your Vulva May Not Be as 'Plump and Juicy' As it Once Was
Like our face, our vulva will age with time. And the lack of estrogen means that our vulva will sag a little during menopause. The vulva, the labia and your clitoral hood can change in size, in shape and in colour. Quite often women will have less public hair (yes we even bald a little down there!).
But on the plus side, if someone is close enough to notice that your vulva isn't as plump as it once was, they aren't going to stop and comment on it.
You Have a Greater Chance of Prolapse After Menopause
If you don't know what a prolapsed vagina looks like - brace yourself before you look at this image. A prolapsed vagina can occur at any age, but menopausal women are more likely to suffer from prolapse if they don't look after their pelvic floor muscles.
A prolapse is where the bladder, uterus and possibly even the bowel protrude into the vagina. If you feel a large 'lump' in your vagina, and are experiencing constipation, trouble emptying your bladder or have trouble with penetrative sex, then see your doctor immediately.
By now, we've all heard about the infamous hot flushes, mood swings, and those sleepless nights that menopause can bring. But today, we’re setting sail into uncharted waters, exploring the mysterious, the lesser-known, and the downright quirky symptoms of menopause. Fasten your seat belts (or better yet, pour yourself a cuppa or a glass of bubbly) because we're diving deep!
You've done it! Made an appointment with a Menopause Doctor about your Perimenopausal symptoms! That's great - and a huge step in the right direction. But what should you expect during the appointment - and what will the Doctor ask you? It's always good to be prepared before your first appointment.