In my practice, the patients who talk about intercourse that is painful after menopause - bring it up in a lot of different ways. And yet, it’s rare to hear a woman use medical terminology to describe what she's experiencing. You don't need to feel bogged down by technicalities – that's your healthcare provider's job. Instead, it’s very important that every woman feels comfortable enough to explain what she’s feeling and experiencing as a result of menopause.
As an OB/GYN, I have heard it all – from the very tentative descriptions, to the downright graphic and detailed. And I can assure you that regardless of how a patient approaches this conversation or what language they choose to use, there's no wrong way to describe what you are experiencing! Here are a few examples of how my patients more often describe their concerns about moderate to severe painful intercourse due to menopause:
- "I am worried because intercourse has gotten more painful."
- "I don't feel comfortable talking about pain that I experience while having intercourse."
- "I didn't expect to feel so much pain during intercourse after menopause. No one talked to me about this."
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Moderate to severe painful intercourse due to menopause is one of the most bothersome symptoms of a chronic and progressive medical condition called vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), and it impacts many women in the U.S. – so if you're experiencing this, you are not alone!
Finding the right treatment option starts and ends with communication – you, the patient, being open with your healthcare provider about what you're going through. But also feel free to be open and honest with your partner and even your close trusted friends who can be helpful confidants. This is not something you need to or should deal with alone! Use whatever words and descriptors you feel most comfortable with and open up to your healthcare provider about it.