Hormones are a “girl’s best friend”. All is fine until our hormones become off balance or we begin to have a decline in our sex hormones.
While many talk about the side effects of hormones including bloating, weight gain, mood swings, and hot flashes, a less discussed topic is that of sex becoming uncomfortable or even painful.
When we have a reduction in our hormones including estrogen and sometimes even testosterone (yes, we do produce a small amount), our vaginal tissues can become less lubricated and even dry. As the vaginal tissue is quite sensitive and generally fragile, a reduction in normal lubrication can make sex downright impossible if not incredibly uncomfortable.
So let’s talk about some of the things that we CAN do to improve this situation.
1). It’s time to switch to an oil based vaginal lubricant for sexual activity. If we only used water based lubricant, you may find that the vaginal tissues quickly absorb this and then comes the friction. OUCH! I would recommend looking for organic oil based lubricant or even coconut oil. Organic fractionated oil can be found in a pump bottle which is easier to work with. Yes, water based lubricant is easier to clean up, but if we don’t want to experience pain, then lets use!
2). Talk with your healthcare provider (gynecologist or naturopath) about lower estrogen and if prescribing an estrogen cream to be applied regularly on the outside of the vagina (vulva) as well as internally. Many women find this to be very helpful to their vaginal tissues
3). Look for a daily vaginal and vulvar moisturizer that you can apply daily to help to moisturize the tissues and improve the tissue health. I like THIS one: Enchanted Rose Organic Vaginal Balm
4). Consider assisting your hormone balance with nutrition. If you are entering that pre-menopause phase or even menopause, it can be helpful to use seed cycling to support the body’s regulation of hormones. With the hormone phases being broken up into two main phases, seeds including flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower can support these two phases. (See free guide below)
5). If you have been experiencing this pain for a while, it may be time to consult with a pelvic physical therapist. Even if the pain started out as tissue irritation, repeated painful exposures will lead the nervous system to become increasingly guarded and the pelvic floor muscles can become excessively tense. A pelvic PT can help to assess what is driving the pain, counsel a patient on how reduce any contributors to pain, discuss their favorite lubricants and possibly refer you to your doctor if hormone replacement therapy is needed and appropriate for you.
Pelvic pain and pain with sex is definitely NOT how most of us would like to experience life, long term. Vagnial tissue is quite sensitive to not having adequate lubrication with pain shortly following when dryness occurs. Perhaps try some of the more simple adjustments written above and check in with your doctor or naturopath.
Pelvic Pain is NEVER OK. There is definitely help for this!