The menopausal vagina

Vaginas – like other body parts – experience age-related changes. With menopause, women often notice that sex may feel more dry, uncomfortable or painful. In fact, postmenopausal women sometimes notice vaginal dryness or discomfort even when they are NOT having sex. 

As a result, healthcare providers and sex ual health researchers have long experimented with different ways of treating women’s vaginas to provide some relief of vaginal symptoms. A recent study conducted by researchers at several universities (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Columbia University, NYU) and seemingly one corporation studied the difference between giving 230 postmenopausal women "vaginal doses" (meaning applied directly to the vagina, NOT pills and NOT shots) of 25 mcg of estradiol, 10 mcg of estradiol or a placebo (estradiol is a naturally occurring form of estrogen). On some but not all measures of vaginal health and "well-being", women in the 25 mcg group fared best of the three groups. You can learn more about the study here.

To learn more about vaginal or vulvar health for women of all ages (childhood through and beyond menopause), check out The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health. If you have questions or concerns about your own health, please check in with your healthcare provider.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.