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Saturday, February 20, 2010 looking for info, Community Member, asks

Q: Is vaginal tightening a physical symptom of menopause?

Researching online, I see references to "lack of sexual desire" as a symptom of menopause. Are there physical symptoms? i.e. tightening of the vaginal canal, so having sex is sheer pain? This is something I have been experiencing over the past year. It's a very physical issue - more than simply a mental lack of interest. I don't have other symptoms, but I am the right age (48). Is this a symptom/result of menopause?

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Sandy Greenquist, Health Pro
2/23/10 5:14pm

Yes, vaginal tightening is a result of lack of estrogen.  What occurs as a result of a woman's estrogen levels dropping in menopause is the tissues become thinner and drier...and, therefore, less flexible.  As time goes on, if left untreated, the vaginal canal becomes shorter and the vagina itself is smaller as is the opening...all of which can add to very uncomfortable or even impossible intercourse.  I would recommend you see your care provider and get a prescription for estradiol (cream, suppository or ring).  The estrogen can restore healthy tissues, adding back elasticity.  Depending on the severity of the problem, it can be helpful to use vaginal dilators to help stretch the tissues.  A vibrator could be used as well.

The first step is to get some estrogen back into those tissues!

I hope this has been helpful,

Sandy Greenquist, Menopause Clinician

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By looking for info, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 02/20/10