There are a lot of things that happen to women as we age. As you go through menopause there are some simple tips for keeping your pelvis healthy and happy during this phase. Because we no longer have the levels of estrogen that our bodies are used to, the tissues and structures in the pelvis go through some changes. Let’s touch on some of these and what you can do to manage.
Vulvar Tissue Health
With less estrogen, the tissues in your vulva (external genitals) become more pale, dry and thin. This can cause discomfort with wiping, clothes and intercourse. If left un cared for it can result in tearing and bleeding tissues. The easiest way to help this is to use a moisturizer for these tissues. It should be applied daily or every other day to clean, dry tissues. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, argun oil (any natural oil) but make sure it is just that: Oil. No other ingredients. There are moisturizers that you can purchase, which should also be very simple ingredients, our favorite is VMagic.
This is a similar issue to the vulvar tissue, less estrogen = thinner walls of the vagina. Your vaginal walls are typically full with lots of folds to allow for expansion with childbirth and intercourse. When the estrogen goes, so do the folds and fullness. You can use natural oils inside the vagina to help as well. A good approach here would be to talk with your physician about topical estrogen creams that can be applied vaginally. The other products that can help here are Julva suppositories which are a blend of natural oils, shea butter and DHEA. All natural ingredients are always the very best.
Pain with intercourse
This is a common complaint due to the tissue changes discussed above. The first important thing to know here is you need to use a lubricant. You should choose a good lubricant, again natural ingredients are best. There are many out there that are actually harmful to your vulva and vaginal tissues and should be avoided. For more info on that click here to read our blog on lubricants. Using moisturizers will also help with this as we discussed above. The other item that can be helpful with painful intercourse is addressing any muscle tension that has developed in response to the pain. This is best addressed with pelvic floor physical therapy. Our patients generally improve within 6-8 weeks of treatment. For some simple tips to relax the pelvic floor click here.
This is such a common complaint in women as we age. The loss of estrogen can really make this problem worse. The support to the bladder neck and urethra are less due to the change in tissue firmness and strength, as well as the general loss of muscle strength with age. The very best way to address leakage is to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. Learning to coordination your core musculature properly and for functional tasks and physical activity are imperative to managing leakage. Adding in moisturizers and topical estrogen as prescribed by your doctor can also aid in managing leaks. This is a great link to learn how to properly contract your pelvic floor and coordinate it with your core. Our patients get great results within 4-6 visits for leaking.
You absolutely should not just accept these issues as normal aging. They don’t have to be. They are so manageable, with really simple tools that do not require a lot of extra time or tools, or costs. If you are struggling with any of these issues, come in and see one of our therapists! If you aren’t in our area, you can schedule a pelvic health coaching session with one of our experts as well! Click Here for more information