The Medical Chambers Header Image

Vaginal Dryness, Painful Sex, Urinary Incontinence - We Can Help

Has sex become painful during menopause? Does your vagina feel dry or itchy, or do you find you need to pee more often? These are all common symptoms in perimenopause and menopause, and 1 in 2 women will experience them. 

Yet many of us still feel too embarrassed to talk about the discomfort we feel - even with our partners or close friends. Only a quarter of women with menopausal symptoms seek help and as a result, many are missing out on the treatment that could help improve their lives. This includes innovative new technology to restore moisture and strengthen the vaginal walls, all non-surgical and with no recovery time. 


What’s going on ‘down there’?

A decline in our oestrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can mean that the tissues in the vagina and surrounding areas become thinner and dryer. This can make sex feel uncomfortable and become a source of anxiety, rather than something to enjoy. Some women may also find that the dryness is present all the time - making it difficult to sit for long periods, or leading to recurrent bouts of thrush. 

Lack of oestrogen can also cause the urethra to become thinner and the pelvic floor tissue may become weaker. As a result, as many as 50% of women experience urinary incontinence during or after menopause. This can be stressful, as everyday activities like running or lifting heavy objects can trigger involuntarily peeing, or sudden and frequent urges to use the toilet. 


Can HRT and topical oestrogen help with vaginal dryness and incontinence?

HRT can be immensely helpful for many women - especially when it comes to menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, hot flushes, night sweats, and joint pain. With the right dosage, it can also significantly help reduce dryness and urinary incontinence. 

If you find, however, that the problem persists or HRT is not right for you, topical vaginal oestrogen can be an effective alternative, and help to relieve urinary incontinence and vaginal dryness. It’s safe for long-term use, has very few side effects and does not increase the risk of breast cancer. 


Are there any hormone-free solutions for vaginal symptoms during the menopause?

Some women do not wish to take HRT and others simply can’t, especially if they’ve had breast cancer. The good news is that there are highly effective hormone-free alternatives to treat vaginal conditions associated with the menopause, which are minimally invasive and have very few side effects.  

MonaLisa Touch is an important new laser treatment that can significantly improve dryness, itching and  recurring infections. It can also relieve symptoms of stress and urge incontinence. Radiofrequency is another innovative treatment to manage urinary incontinence. It works by strengthening the vaginal walls and regenerating the urethra and the surrounding areas. 


Can Pelvic Floor Exercises and Changes to Diet Help Manage Incontinence?

Pelvic floor exercises can be hugely beneficial, especially as part of a tailored treatment plan to help you during menopause. It is good to remember that they can take time and commitment, and technique is key - an expert can guide you on how to do them correctly.

Changes to diet can also be an important part of a holistic approach to treating vaginal symptoms. Many women have found that lowering their caffeine intake and the amount of alcohol they drink has helped reduce urinary incontinence. 

Consultant Gynaecologist, Ms Tania Adib, says: ‘Some women may find that with the right guidance, pelvic floor exercises and a change in lifestyle things can significantly improve. For others, exercises may not have worked and a combination of HRT and Radiofrequency is the right answer. It’s important to remember each woman is different and it can take some experimentation to find the right solution.’ 


Visit our clinic

If you are experiencing vaginal conditions associated with menopause and would like to speak to a specialist, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.