I never thought it would happen to me.
The dreaded “vaginal atrophy.” I had no idea until my last gyno exam – that darned speculum hurt – for the first time ever. WHAT?
I know this is a place for discussion about ADHD. But since ADHD “covers the earth” in our lives, I am broadening the discussion to include the stuff that impacts us as women. Like (shhhhh) vaginal dryness.
Oh, I really don’t want to talk about this. But somebody has to. And, sigh, I’ve never been one to shy away from uncomfortable (literally) topics.
What pushed me to finally write this? An email from the North American Menopause Society showed up today with a new report and treatment options for the above referenced topic. So here we go…along with a link to the original report.
The reason things get arid down there is that our lack of estrogen for prolonged periods of time eventually breaks down vaginal tissue, sometimes to the point of bleeding and tearing (ouch). Also sexual desire can decrease along with the hormone lift we get from estrogen. Since it’s a “use it or lose it” kind of proposition we might be unwittingly (unwillingly?) bringing on the problems I mention.
The good news is that there are a lot of things we can do to change the climate down there. Lubricants, of course, are the old standby. My pelvic floor physical therapist recommends one called “Slippery Stuff” which doesn’t dry out and get sticky. And yes, I have a pelvic floor physical therapist! She does NOT teach Kegels, but instead focuses on “alignment” which can also help with osteoporosis and osteopenia — more about that in another post.
Estrogen creams (Estrace® is my preference) can be used 2-3 x a week vaginally if your heath allows.There is also an estradiol (estrogen) ring that is inserted vaginally and changed every 90 days. There are also tablets, soft gels and even an oral medication (prescription) that is supposed to help.
There’s also exercise – like s-e-x with or without a partner. My PT, Lori, also recommends vaginal dilators – a whole set of them. Here’s the link http://bit.ly/dilatorset You MUST use them with a lubricant and NOT KY jelly or Astroglide. These are silicone in graduated sizes. She said the largest one is NOT a goal…LOL. She also said your trusty vibrator can also work if used internally and with lubrication.
OK… how does this have any connection to ADHD? In a word: distraction. Our brains are also so full of stuff “to do” that adding more is like pushing past the point of our capability. Seriously. One more set of physical therapy exercises and I will just stop doing any of them (got elbow problems, too…sigh).
So…this post may get banned for talking about physical issues, but heck, they are part of our ADHD lives, right? And I’ll bet I get more response from this post than any other one. Stay tuned..there’s more to come.
Linda, Thank you so much for this article!! The struggle is real!!! I had Endometriosis when I was younger, & have had issues w/discomfort most of my life. Had our son in my 20’s, & tore almost to my anus, so there’s lots of scar tissue (I know TMI?). I started having more discomfort & pain (dryness & tightness), w/sex in my 50’s and sadly we stopped having intercourse. I finally had the Mona Lisa Laser Tx done, & this helped restore a lot of my natural lubrication, (YAY!), and my PT recommended the dilators, which I bought & used. But I have still not been able to stretch myself enough for hubby (possible scar tissue)? Any help going fwd would be apprec, as we miss not being able to “go all the way”. GOD Bless you for all that you do Linda, & your team.
This among lots of other female aging info should be much more common. Thanks for starting the conversation! Some (all) of this is good to know so women can be proactive. Besides as my eighty seven plus years old Grandfather used to say “aging beats the alternative”.
I TRULY hope that this post is NOT banned!
We all know first-hand that our ‘life’ is difficult, but vaginal dryness, and your open discussion, is a FACT of aging, for any female.
Hooray for you, for sharing.
To others that are reading Linda’s post, be thankful that she’s providing fact-based info, and ideas to help (making this one less topic that our over-filled brains needs to research!) She’s done the tough job, and in-turn, we are ‘informed’ persons, who now just need to follow suggestions.