Vaginal Changes During Menopause: How To Overcome Them

Sep 012014

Vaginal Changes in MenopauseAs we get older we often worry about the effects of aging, scrutinizing each wrinkle and fretting over every jiggle, but we sometimes forget about what’s happening to the parts we can’t see – like our vaginas. First and foremost it’s important to recognize what’s causing most of these changes. As we approach menopause our estrogen levels start to decline and can fluctuate unpredictably as they decrease – which can cause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal issues. However, unlike hot flashes and mood swings, which taper off when your estrogen levels stabilize after menopause, vaginal changes get worse as we age – so treating them as soon as you notice them is crucial.

In the following video, Intimina Medical Advisory Board Member and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Susan Wysocki explains the vaginal changes that can occur during menopause.

Many menopause changes can be treated using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and we recommend discussing all of your symptoms and treatment options with your doctor. However, there are also a number of behavioral changes you can make to start combating the symptoms now.

Little (or Big) Bladder Leaks

We don’t like to talk about it, we don’t like to call it what it is, but incontinence is a very common part of aging – especially for women. Factors like hormonal changes and childbirth weaken the pelvic floor, and thinner, more fragile tissue makes bladder irritation more likely, so it’s unsurprising that nearly 1 in 3 women suffer from bladder issues in their lifetimes.

Solution: The #1 doctor recommended treatment for incontinence is pelvic floor exercise. Also known as Kegel exercises, a series of contract and release movements of the pelvic floor, help strengthen the muscles that help support and control your bladder and bowel – which means they help you avoid those leaks. Kegel exercise can actually help with a large number of other menopause symptoms as you’ll see below.


Estrogen encourages blood flow in the pelvic region, stimulating production of vaginal fluid that helps lubricate your vagina and keep you comfortable. So when estrogen is low, less moisture is produced and you might start feeling burning, itching and irritation in places you really don’t want to.

Solution: The first step to solving dryness is to find a pH balanced feminine moisturizer to help with any immediate discomfort. In the long term though, it’s important to increase blood flow to the glands that produce those natural fluids that keep your vagina moist. Kegel exercises do just that: like any exercise, Kegels get your blood flowing, which stimulates those glands to produce more fluid and helps keep dryness and friction to a minimum.

Thinning and Loss of Elasticity

As estrogen levels fall, skin, muscle, and tissue all over the body thins and loses elasticity – and your intimate area is no exception. Without estrogen to maintain the collagen and fat in our cells, the vaginal tissue becomes thinner and the folds that allow it to stretch during sex and childbirth flatten out. This is called vaginal atrophy, it can increase irritation and make intimacy painful.

Solution: This is another area in which Kegels can help – increasing blood flow to those tissues keeps them healthy and flexible, while also encouraging the healing of any damage. A good Kegel device can guide you through each routine – helping ensure that you’re contracting correctly and making each contraction more effective (just like a personal trainer at the gym).

Narrowing or Shortening of the Vagina

Along with the loss of elasticity, if you don’t stimulate the vaginal tissues, your vagina can actually get smaller and tighter – which means when you do try to have sex again, it might hurt.

Solution: More sex! Both sex and masturbation are exercise for your vagina (not to mention the rest of your body), like Kegels it can increase blood flow and lubrication, as well as stimulate the tissue. Whether you’re getting cozy with a partner or enjoying a little “me” time, any sexual activity can help – but having something stretching your vagina helps even more to maintain tissue flexibility over time. If you have pain during intercourse, start slow with external stimulation and gradually work up to insertion. A personal massager is a great way to ease yourself back into it, and you can always use it together with your partner as you get more comfortable.

Loss of Sensitivity

In addition to a lower sex drive during menopause, the decline in estrogen and decreased blood supply to your genitals can also affect the pleasure some women feel from stimulation. The clitoris itself might also become less sensitive – some researchers believe this is due to the lower levels of estrogen combined with vascular and nervous system changes.

Solution: As most women will agree – regardless of age – more foreplay is always a good thing. In menopause this is doubly true, so be open with your partner about what you want and how you want it. Take your time and enjoy the build-up together, intimacy is about more than just reaching a goal.

Increased Infections

Estrogen plays a key part in keeping you infection-free by helping your cells maintain a slightly acidic pH in your vagina – the best environment for the good bacteria that helps keep you healthy and which keeps bad bacteria and microbes from growing. As estrogen falls you might notice more frequent urinary and vaginal infections.

Solution: To avoid infection it’s important not to use any cleansers or lubricants that might change your pH. Avoid douching, even water has a higher pH than your natural vaginal balance, and soaps or fragrances can irritate the tissue or even dry it out – the last thing you want with lower estrogen.

There’s no reason to just live with pain or discomfort from menopause symptoms. Talking to your doctor and committing to a little bit of self care can go a long way towards staying healthy and comfortable throughout each and every change you experience. Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life and it has the potential to be just as (or more!) wonderful as every other stage of your life.


KegelSmart: Regain Pelvic strength

Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.


Can Vibrators Help with Symptoms of Menopause?

While the changes to your sex life are not always at the forefront of your mind when you reach menopause  – thank you, distracting hot flashes  – changes to your vagina during menopause will indeed affect your intimate life. But menopause doesn’t herald the end of your sex life, just changes to it – and [...]

Read more »


HRT for Menopause Explained – A Quick Guide to Hormone Replacement Therapy

Deciding if you want to have hormone replacement therapy is something that most women of ‘a certain age’ will have at some point considered. Being menopausal is described in many ways, but ‘glamorous’ and ‘enjoyable’ are not usually the first words that spring to mind. HRT offers many women a Get Out of Jail Free [...]

Read more »

Reasons to celebrate menopause

6 Silver Lining Symptoms of Menopause: It Ain’t All Bad!

There is a lot to be said about menopause and let’s face it, nearly all of it is negative. This is understandable as there are some pretty hefty downsides, for example mood swings, loss of libido and those dreaded hot flashes – not cool (get it?) With so much doom and gloom surrounding the “change” [...]

Read more »

woman with red hair staring out into the distance

We Need to Talk About Premature Menopause

Navigating the choppy waters of menopause is hard enough in the middle of one’s life, never mind the little-known prospect of menopause before 40. Premature menopause affects many young women and because of the lack of awareness surrounding it, can be a lonely and confusing position to be in. With understanding, we are better placed [...]

Read more »

Peri-what? – Perimenopause Explained

The word “menopause” is a loaded one. For many women, it conjures up feelings of anxiety and confusion because most of us don’t talk about it openly or frequently enough. Then, to add to the uncertainty, friends and the media start talking about “perimenopause” – what is that? Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated or [...]

Read more »

The Hard Truth about Menopause and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because it usually progresses without physical symptoms. Many with osteoporosis don’t even realize they have it until a sudden fall, bump or strain that wouldn’t normally be serious causes a fracture or break. The relationship between bone density and estrogen levels also means women over the age of [...]

Read more »

Avoiding Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal Atrophy: 3 Proactive Solutions

With the average age of menopause being 51, most of us will spend at least 1/3 of our lives beyond menopause. This is all the more reason to take care of our bodies; we still have a lot of living to do and many years of happiness after our fertility has waned. Lower or non-existent [...]

Read more »

Menopause and Loss of Libido: How to Regain Your Desire

Menopause and Loss of Libido: How to Regain Your Desire

Before we discuss loss of libido, let’s look at the brighter side of sex after menopause. Menopause means no more periods, and no more need for contraception. It comes at a time a lot of women are comfortable in their own skin, more confident, and maybe in a long-term relationship. Children have usually moved out [...]

Read more »

5 Tips for Amazing Sex During Menopause

5 Tips for Amazing Sex During Menopause

We often hear from women who are worried that their sex life will end when they reach menopause. It’s something that society as a whole has taken to be a given; that women will or even should stop having sex when the ‘change’ happens. Thankfully, it’s definitely not the case! Two thirds of women find [...]

Read more »

Avoiding Menopause Weight Gain article

Menopause Weight Gain: Keeping the Pounds Off

Menopause and weight gain are closely linked in many women’s minds—the shifting of your curves and appearance of bigger numbers on the scale can be a big shock. Our bodies do change with menopause, but that’s no reason to just accept the bulge and toss out your skinny jeans. Menopausal weight gain is primarily affected [...]

Read more »

  • Sign Up. It's Rewarding!
  • Join our newsletter list today.
  • Enjoy 10% off your first order.
  • *Email address
  •  Birthday
  • *Required field
      View our terms and conditions
INTIMINA uses cookies to improve our service to the customer. By continuing to browse our site, you agree to our use of cookies detailed here . ACCEPT