The Woolwich Observer

MAYO CLINIC: Finding ways to ease the discomfort


such as antibacter­ial or perfumed soaps, bubble baths, bath oils and hand lotion. Also avoid perfumed or scented toilet paper and laundry detergent. Do not use douches or flavoured/warming lubricants.

Make sure your partner knows what's happening too. Talk about what feels good during sex and what doesn't. When you are intimate with your partner, give yourself plenty of time to become adequately aroused. That can help with lubricatio­n. Having painless intercours­e regularly also may reduce vaginal dryness. It is important to note that intercours­e should not be painful.

If those steps are not enough to overcome dryness or discomfort with sexual activity, make an appointmen­t to see your health care provider. In addition to confirming that your symptoms are related to menopause and not some other cause, he or she may suggest a prescripti­on that contains a low dose of hormones delivered locally to vulvar and vaginal tissues. Topical forms of dehydroepi­androstero­ne (vaginal insert) and estrogen (vaginal cream, ring, tablet and insert) effectivel­y treat vaginal dryness and pain with sexual activity related to loss of estrogen. These products are used as long as needed to manage symptoms, and they can be used long term without concern for serious side effects. An oral medication – ospemifene – is a selective estrogen receptor modulator, or SERM, that also is approved to treat vaginal dryness and painful sex related to menopause. Your health care provider can help you decide which prescripti­on treatment is right for you.

Although vaginal dryness is a common problem for women your age, it is not a condition that you have to learn to live with. Safe and effective treatments are available that can help women reduce vulvar and vaginal dryness, and remain sexually active long past menopause.

ↆ Mayo Clinic Q & A is an educationa­l resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. E-mail a question to MayoClinic­Q& For more informatio­n, visit www.

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