Young women also ex­pe­ri­ence menopause

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

MENOPAUSE is no longer re­served for older women only. More and more women below the age of 45 are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this phe­nom­e­non, and some are even get­ting di­vorced as a re­sult of it. Early menopause of­ten comes with dry­ness down below, af­fect­ing your sex­ual re­la­tion­ship.

A work­shop on vagi­nal at­ro­phy re­vealed that two-thirds of women avoided in­ti­macy be­cause of vagi­nal dis­com­fort dur­ing the menopause stage.

Many women around the world also find them­selves suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion due to menopausal ef­fects on their mar­riages and re­la­tion­ships.

Sun­day World polled women on Moth­er­hood & Me, a Face­book group, to ask them about their ex­pe­ri­ences with menopause.

While some women re­vealed that they still could not tell if they were go­ing through menopause, most spoke of how the phase changed their sex­ual life with their part­ners.

Nozipho Sit­hole, a high school teacher, opened up about her own per­sonal strug­gles with menopause. “Mine came a bit early, I did not un­der­stand what I was go­ing through. I had just turned 40 and my li­bido de­creased.

“My part­ner thought I was no longer in­ter­ested in hav­ing sex but I would ex­pe­ri­ence se­ri­ous dry­ness in my vagina.”

Other women said their menopause came ear­lier than ex­pected. Brid­get* said her mar­riage was on the rocks due to her early menopause. “I was only 37. My hus­band thought I was un­in­ter­ested in him. I also did not know what was go­ing on un­til I se­cretly went to a gy­nae­col­o­gist,” said Brid­get.

Brid­get said she got the shock of her life when she re­alised that she was go­ing through menopause. “It was as if my life came crash­ing down on me. I got mar­ried when I was 35 to a man I dated for a year, so now in­stead of hav­ing the time of my life with him, I was bored and al­ways feel­ing fa­tigued.

“I used lu­bri­cants, but I would still not get in the mood and for me that was frus­trat­ing,” she said.

Brid­get said she would try to ini­ti­ate sex with her hus­band. “He would get an erec­tion, but when he was sup­posed to pen­e­trate me, I felt like he was too big for me be­cause I would be dry and the sex was painful.

“He stopped try­ing be­cause he could not un­der­stand why a woman my age would go through menopause,” said Brid­get.

Ex­perts at the work­shop agreed that menopause can vary from per­son to per­son, but two of the most com­mon symp­toms are painful sex­ual in­ter­course and vagi­nal dis­com­fort.

A study they con­ducted also re­vealed that 33 per­cent of women have more sex with their part­ners dur­ing menopause.

Gy­nae­col­o­gist Phuti Rat­shabedi says women who sus­pect they are go­ing through menopause should con­sult their gy­nae­col­o­gist.

“Menopause is a life stage that can’t be avoided. Women go­ing through it should get more knowl­edge about menopause to un­der­stand what they are go­ing through.”

How­ever, Rat­shabedi says the change can be pos­i­tive for a few women.

Mpho Mu­laudzi (47), says menopause im­proved her sex life. “My friends used to tell me that menopause would make hav­ing sex dif­fi­cult.

“I ac­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­enced a high sex drive. I started look­ing af­ter my­self more, and my part­ner was sur­prised be­cause I hardly ini­ti­ated sex in the past.”

* Not her real name. (Also see www. dry­vagina.co.za) — Sowe­tan.co.za

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