Warning: Use It or Lose It! Menopausal Women Need to Know This...

From bloomenjoyyourself.com

Written by Dr. Petra Zebroff, Relationship and Sex Therapist

I am consistently surprised that women are not given an official warning about what happens to their bodies with menopause – specifically our vaginas. Especially since there is such an easy (and pleasurable) fix!

Vaginas change with menopause. What used to be wet, full and cushioned changes in approximately half of menopausal women. As hormone levels drop (especially estrogen, as well as Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and androgens) the vagina loses its natural moisture, and the texture becomes thinner and less elastic. As the lining of the vagina becomes thinner it is more easily torn. The vagina can become itchy, irritated and more prone to infection, leaving daily life uncomfortable and sexual intercourse painful.

But it’s not all bad news! First of all, it is not inevitable. You have some control over how quickly this happens and may even be able to slow it or stop it from happening. And the treatment is fun!

What are your options?

Estrogen supplementation has been known to help. For those women who do not want Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a localized estrogen cream can temporarily plump up the vaginal lining. This regime requires upkeep (applications) and potential mess. An Estrogen Ring is less messy, dispensing small amounts of estrogen to the area that needs it most.

But HRT is temporary and can be complicated. Fortunately, there is an easier, longer-lasting and more pleasurable way to prevent and even reverse these vaginal changes -- Use it or Lose it!

The body is destined to whither ONLY if ... it is not used. Just like muscles that lose definition and strength without exercise, the vagina closes down for business unless otherwise “used”.

Several studies have shown that women who “use” their vaginas with intercourse or masturbation are much more likely to have lush, elastic, self-lubricating vaginas. (Whipple 2005)

So what does it mean to "use" your vagina?

First, physical pressure and friction remind the body that this part is still engaged and necessary. The body understands that "use" means maintenance and it will continue to rebuild the lining of the vagina to ensure it remains ready for more use. This friction increases circulation and aids in regeneration of the epithelial cells of the vaginal walls.

Luckily, nature has created a ready-made tool to "use" the vagina -- the penis. The penis is the ideal shape to give pressure and stimulation in relative proportions to the vagina. And with the right partner a woman's vagina can be massaged, her arousal tweaked, and her orgasm encouraged in a way that releases vital vaginal-stimulating nutrients and encourages cell regeneration.

But partner sex is not the only way to use your vagina. A second way is with masturbation, of any sort. Simply getting aroused and having an orgasm, no matter which type of stimulation, will increase circulation to the pelvis, pumping extra oxygen and nutrients into the cells. Sexual responsiveness also releases hormones such as oxytocin and androgens associated with greater lubrication and greater vaginal elasticity.

Masturbation, on its own, was found to maintain vaginal lushness. (Lieblum, 1981) In fact, masturbation can be a more reliable method because each individual woman can control the method and frequency of sexual and vaginal stimulation, more so than with partner sex.

Getting started

Due to embarrassment many women suffer in silence, feeling dry, irritated and disconnected from pleasure and emotional connection.

Your first line of defence is to Use It Before You Lose It! Stop any atrophy before it starts. Get aroused, masturbate or have sex with a partner. Whatever works best for you. And always make sure to have enough lubricant, whatever you do.

If you have already noticed some symptoms, talk to your doctor. Many doctors are enlightened enough to recommend this preventative (and pleasurable) method, but some still feel uncomfortable talking about the best options – like dildos. One Bloom member recounted a story of her doctor who recommended inserting a warmed candle, like a penis, to continue building the lining of her vagina. While the doctor's intentions were well-founded, a more comfortable and safe option is a dildo. Candles offer little “give”. The hard surface can cause pain in an already thinly lined vagina. A dildo offers more comfort, with greater flexibility. See dildos we recommend. Vaginal dilators are another great option.

But don't just stick to dildos. All forms of arousal and orgasm can be helpful. What gets you off? Do more of that!

I was happy to hear that Bloom would like to take on the responsibility of warning women of this simple fix for the 'blooming' vagina.

So, go forth and Use-It-or-Lose-It, girls! It’s very good for your health.