Many women suffer vaginal and sexual health problems in silence as they age but few discuss it with their doctors. This is a key finding of a new study from the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Centre.
Despite being a society saturated in sexual images, important, helpful sex information about conditions like vaginal dryness, painful sex and low desire simply are not discussed.
Most women are more than familiar with the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats yet vaginal dryness is one of the most common problems for women at this time and it is rarely discussed. Vaginal dryness may lead to painful sex, itching, odour and may impact activities of daily living like walking and sitting. Yet, so many women do not realize this.
Women often avoid sex with their partners without speaking to them about the reason for this avoidance of sex. This causes a great communication divide. Some of my patients were thought to have been having an extra-marital affair by their partners because of vaginal dryness and the resultant low sexual desire. It is incumbent upon a person in any intimate relationship to get the help they need especially if their problem is impacting one's sex life. Sex is integral to a healthy intimate relationship.
Vaginal dryness is not limited only to those women who are sexually active. Vaginal dryness does not discriminate. This is one of the greatest myths associated with vaginal concerns such as vaginal dryness. Women assume if they are not sexually active, they cannot have vaginal dryness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any woman may experience vaginal dryness at menopause.
The more information we can provide to women about vaginal and sexual health concerns the better.
One of the reasons that so few women discuss their vaginal health concerns with their doctors is because women do not realize it is a medical problem. They may begin to suffer sexual pain from vaginal dryness but often are told this is in their head. They may be embarrassed by vaginal health concerns, too embarrassed to mention it to their doctors because sex is still shrouded in shame.
Vaginal dryness is a health condition that is easily treated today with over the counter personal moisturizers that can be purchased without a prescription. They come in gels, ovules and creams and often contain ingredients similar to facial moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. I say, it is just as important to moisturize your vagina as it is your face.
Personal moisturizers must be used routinely and for the rest of a woman's life or the vaginal dryness will return. They can be used during intercourse as well to help to reduce discomfort until their effectiveness is optimized which takes two to three months.
The more information we can provide to women about vaginal and sexual health concerns the better. This will help women to lead healthier lives and have better intimate relationships long after menopause. Women are living a lot longer these days and we may as well live them in the best way possible!
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Sexual headaches are headaches that aren’t caused by a specific medical condition, and happen around sex. They can happen at different times during sexual activity, with different intensities, and in different parts of the head.
You might hear sexual headaches referred to by a variety of names: headaches with sexual activity, orgasmic thunderclap, orgasmic migraines, coital headaches, coital cephalgia, or orgasmic cephalgia.
There are three classifications for headaches with sexual activity (HSAs) or sexual headaches, according to the International Headache Society. Type I HSAs are usually felt across the head and are pre-orgasmic — the pressure builds as your sexual excitement does. And Type II HSAs are more sudden or severe and happen with or near orgasm.
They can be triggered by any sexual activity that can lead to orgasm, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some medications can make HSAs more likely, including marijuana, birth control pills, pseudoephedrine, and Amiodarone. "As is the case with headaches as a whole, there isn't a great understanding of what causes them or how to prevent them,” says sex therapist Vanessa Marin. "Sex can be a rather fun treatment in mild cases, but anyone who has persistent, intense headaches should seek out a headache specialist."
Sexual headaches are usually more unpleasant than anything, but sometimes they can be a sign of something more serious. For example, in men they can be a sign of low testosterone, according to Dr. Laura Berman. They could also be an indication of an aneurysm, bleeding in the brain, or stroke. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor when you experience a sexual headache for the first time.
These headaches can vary in intensity, from dull to sharp and stabbing. Those that occur with orgasm can feel more intense. Some people have a combination of the two, according to the Mayo Clinic. The headaches can last from a few minutes to hours or even days.
They can happen at any point during sex: before, during, after, with or without orgasm. Some people may experience them often, while for others sexual headaches are fortunately rare or a one-time occurrence. Others might never get them at all.
Both men and women can get sexual headaches, though they appear to be more common in men. They occur in more than one in 100 people. It appears that you may be more likely to get them if you suffer from migraines, tension headaches, or exertion headaches.
Try a painkiller like an NSAID or beta-blocker, the Mayo Clinic notes, or talk to your doctor about the best timing to take them in order to prevent headaches.
Some people find using an NSAID like ibuprofen or a beta-blocker helpful in preventing sexual headaches. Taking a less active role during sex sometimes may help. And while it’s frustrating, sometimes waiting it out helps — some people experience sex headaches in clusters for a few weeks or months, and then they go away.
For some people, sexual headaches may be triggered by poor breathing during sex — you could be holding your breath without realizing it, and that could be related to headaches. "If someone has the habit of not only holding their breath but applying pressure to the closed airway, the result is a Valsalva maneuver,” says sex and relationship therapists Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels. "Holding the breath creates pressure in the chest, increases the outflow of blood, and slows the heart rate. This constricts the blood vessels in the brain and causes a drop in blood pressure.” As your breathing becomes normal again, the blood could rush back to your brain and lead to headache, they say. Try being conscious of your breath during sex and making sure that you’re not holding it.
If you ever have a headache you could describe as your "worst ever," you should see a doctor. The same goes for a first sexual headache, in order to rule out any other underlying causes. And finally, see a doctor if you get a headache with symptoms like vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, or reduced coordination.
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