The Return of Intimacy
Let’s talk about what goes on behind your bedroom doors. Are things as exciting and satisfying as they once were? Be honest now. Chances are the fires have dimmed a bit over the years. Have you asked yourself why? If your answer is that even though your feelings have not changed toward your partner, intercourse just isn’t as satisfying as it once was, or as it should be. This could be the result of natural aging or childbirth. Don’t feel alone. It’s not uncommon. And there is something you can do about it.
Vaginal revitalization may be the perfect solution for you. Here’s why. As we age, especially after menopause, our estrogen levels lower. It’s natural and as a result our vaginal tissue becomes thinner and drier. When this happens we may experience inflammation, burning, itching, and bleeding. It’s no fun! And there’s more. UTIs (urinary tract infections) can become more frequent; intercourse uncomfortable and even painful; and urinary leaking occurs when coughing, laughing and sneezing.
Another reason for a vaginal revitalization procedure is that our vaginal tissue stretches after childbirth resulting in intercourse that may not be satisfying. As I mentioned, there is something you can do about it. A non-surgical procedure call MonaLisa Touch® helps both younger women by tightening up stretched vaginal tissue and those who are naturally aging.
Does the sound of the word “procedure” strike some fear in you? Stop! MonaLisa Touch® is a treatment, not a procedure. And, think about how wonderful it will be to be intimate with your partner again. Here’s how it works. The treatment is done in my office and doesn’t usually require any anesthesia. You’ll experience a vibration, not pain. And here’s the great news – it’s over in a matter of minutes.
Feeling more confident and excited now? It’s really very simple. A small probe is inserted into your vagina. Laser energy emitted from the probe “awakens” your vagina which then starts forming new blood vessels, while increasing both collagen and elastin. These two proteins are what help restore elasticity to your vaginal tissues.
MonaLisa Touch’s major advantage is that it addresses the reasons vaginal atrophy has occurred rather than just addressing the symptoms. It’s longer lasting, non-hormonal, not uncomfortable, no downtime after the procedure, and it only takes three treatments over the course of a few months. Well, there is one catch, it’s advised that you refrain from sexual activity for a few days after the treatment. That’s a small price to pay to restore pleasure and intimacy in the bedroom!
Here is some additional information to consider regarding vaginal dryness. There are over 300 medications that can cause vaginal dryness, including:
- Broncho dilator
- Cholesterol lowering
- Muscle relaxants
- Narcotic analgesics
Antihistamines work by drying out your mucus membranes to relieve symptoms like congestion—but they also dry out your vagina. The same is true for decongestants, though they’ve been less well studied. Once you stop taking the meds this symptom should go away.
Most women know that birth control pills can cause issues like weight gain and low libido. But between 35% of women on lowdose birth control pills experience vaginal dryness. You can consider switching to LARC and IUD.
Up to 20% of women on aromatase inhibitors discontinue due to the adverse side effect profile; specifically, severe vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.
Never stop your medications unless you discuss it with your health care professional. Many people stop taking their medications due to adverse effects and noncompliance may account for more than 10% of older adult hospital admissions and $100 billion in health care costs each year.
But if you think that medications are contributing to vaginal dryness and impacting your sexuality then there may be simple solutions. Use of a safe, effective vaginal moisturizer or lubricant might help. Speak to your health care professional about a possible solution which may include medication change or dose modification.
Having both a chronic illness and a satisfying sex life can be a challenge. When focused on healing, stability, and selfcare, we sometimes forget about pleasure. If the goal is to battle an illness and live your best life, it helps to remember that a part of that life is the continued ability to enjoy sex and romance.
Both men and women may suffer from chronic medical conditions which can impact the sexual response cycle causing vaginal dryness, erection problems and changes in desire. The effects of chronic illness on sexuality are often complicated. Both the disease and the treatment for the disease may have an impact on sexual function and desire.
Vaginal dryness and pain during sex are two of the more common occurrences for women with a chronic disease. Sometimes the disease itself directly effects sexual function. Diabetes may cause damage to nerves or blood vessels causing difficulty achieving orgasm and extreme vaginal dryness. Thyroid disease may create lower than normal estrogen and testosterone levels leading to lack of libido. Most chronic illnesses will cause a change in your body that will eventually affect your sex organs.
Treatment for these conditions may be tricky but the best way to handle direct issues is to do the best you can at balancing hormone levels. By controlling the chronic disease to the best of your ability, you also help maintain conditions where treatment for sexual functioning can be successful.
A highquality lubricant like Überlube is a good first step in dealing with dryness and pain. Made of silicone and vitamin E, Überlube does not absorb into your skin so a little bit goes a long way.
Indirect effects on female sexuality happen when medical treatments by therapy, surgery or medication cause signs, symptoms, or side effects that influence your sexual response. Cancer treatments will often force a woman into early menopause. Changes to selfesteem, mood fluctuations and reduced energy are some of the side effects that may also come with treatment of the underlying disease.
If you think that your sexuality has been impacted by a chronic medical condition, here are some helpful hints.
First and most important. Maintain communication with your partner and discuss your concerns. Do not let yourself feel alone and isolated.
Next, make an appointment with a health care professional to ensure your condition is optimally managed. You may want your partner to attend the appointment with you so that they have a better understanding of what’s going on.
Some things you may want to talk about with your healthcare professional:
- A change in medication.
- Hormone support.
- Best practices for general health, specifically diet, exercise and sleep.
- Stress reduction.
Try some simple solutions to rekindle your libido at home too:
- Some new bedroom toys. Consult a specialist to find the right vibrator or accessory for you.
- A luxurious silicone lube like Überlube to prolong sexual arousal and decrease vaginal dryness.
- Reveal your fantasies and try something new.
Above all, do not remain silent. Sexuality specialists can often address your concerns. Chronic illness is hard enough. Don’t give up the intimacy and pleasure that you desire.