As a woman, you are likely to experience some v*ginal health issues as you get older. Here we reveal how to prevent and relieve the symptoms of ageing.
There are many physical changes that happen to a woman as she ages. Your skin loses elasticity, wrinkles appear in places you never knew they could and your breasts give way to gravity.
But what about your more intimate parts? Unfortunately, time doesn’t pick and chose which parts of the body to age and that means your vagina will go through many physical changes too.
“There are more physical changes to the vagina during the ageing process, than the penis,” s*xual health expert and co-owner of online s*x toy retailer, Samantha Evans explained.
So how will my v*gina change as it ages?
V*ginal Atrophy is a condition that affects around half of all women during menopause and 70% of women post-menopause.
“It occurs when the tissues of the vagina become thinner, less flexible, less lubricated, and inflamed as a result of decreased oestrogen levels,” said Samantha.
The bad news doesn’t stop there, your pelvic floor muscles will also become weaker over time especially after childbirth and this can lead to urinary incontinence.
Your Bartholin’s glands, the glands that are responsible for vaginal lubrication from arousal, will also decrease during and after menopause which can make the v*gina feel dry, tight and itchy Samantha said.
It can even make the vagina bleed and it becomes more prone to infections like thrush or urinary tract infections.
Samantha warned it may also take you longer to become aroused which will make your orgasms less intense and penetration could feel uncomfortable.
However, the s*x expert said many of these issues remain untreated as women feel it’s “something they have to put up with”.
In fact, a 2014 study of 8,000 woman found half experienced vaginal atrophy post-menopause and 41% said it mad sex painful. And yet British women are 50% less likely to see a doctor for help than women in Europe or the US.
“The challenge remains that vaginal health in older women is still a taboo subject, and even doctors find it difficult to talk to their patients about it,” gynaecologist and secretary of the British Menopause Society, Dr Heather Currie said.
Could signs of health issues be mistaken for signs of ageing?
If you feel you may have Vaginal Atrophy, you should see a doctor as this could be a symptom of diabetes.
“Any abnormal bleeding during penetrative sex or when using a sex toy should be checked by a medical professional as it may be a sign of a more serious health issue which requires further investigation,” Samantha said.
Samantha revealed some other things can also cause Vaginal Atrophy, like using harsh chemicals on your vulva while washing, smoking and using antidepressants.
Can I still enjoy s*x as my v*gina ages?
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In short: yes. Samantha has three tips to make sex even better as you get older.
1. Use lube
Samantha said it’s best to use a pH balanced lubricant like YES organic lubricant which can help to ease vaginal dryness and make sex feel more pleasurable.
“Lubricants and moisturisers that contain oestrogen can also help the delicate tissues of the vagina walls,” she said.
“Be aware that some lubricants available on prescription and over the counter contain chemicals such as parabens and glycerin (a sugar) which may cause thrush.”
2. Masturbate regularly
Touching yourself on a regular basis will help to increase natural lubrication which can help keep the vagina healthy.
Samantha said using a “slim vibrator” can help to ease vaginal tightness – helping to stretch the tissue – which could be the difference between being able to climax or not.
3. Have all the foreplay
It’s no secret that foreplay is an important part of any couple’s s*x life but Samantha said it also has health benefits too.
By enjoying regular foreplay, this gives the Bartholin’s glands time to produce a larger amount of natural lubrication an increase your arousal.