December, 2017Dr. Pamela Dee, OB/GYN, is a paid spokesperson for Estroven®. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to replace professional medical care. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting any new medication or dietary supplement. The opinions stated herein are those solely of the writer and do not portray the opinions of the Estroven® brand, i-Health, Inc., or DSM.
Dr. Pamela Dee^ is America’s leading menopause expert & OB/GYN, and she is on a mission to save the menopausal vaginas of America. Her goal is to destigmatize menopause and start the “Menopause Romance Revolution.” Her film Love, Sweat & Tears shares an empowering message of hope and action. The film’s companion book, also called Love, Sweat & Tears, is a straightforward, no-nonsense conversation about love, romance and sexuality after menopause. Dr. Pam won’t rest until every woman knows the truth about menopause, that there is hope and that the third part of a woman’s life can be the best and most romantic.
MYTH #1. Abnormal uterine bleeding in menopause is normal and does not have to be evaluated.
Changes in menstrual periods during the menopausal transition are expected—90% of women may experience an increase in volume, duration and frequency of bleeding. However, uterine bleeding1 can be the sign of something much more serious. All women should have their uterus evaluated when experiencing what they feel is abnormal uterine bleeding before assuming that it is just a “part of aging.”
MYTH #2. After menopause, women do not need to have a pap smear anymore.
Most physicians would agree that an annual physical examination is important. It does not have to be a gynecologist, but all women should have a basic physical exam and continue pap smears per the recommended guidelines in their postmenopausal years. If you have never had an abnormal pap smear, stopping pap smears at age 65 is reasonable (after speaking with your healthcare provider, of course).
MYTH #3. No one has enjoyable intercourse after menopause.
Many women enjoy sexual intercourse as they age. A key part of supporting an active sex life after menopause is to prevent vaginal atrophy—which is when the vaginal muscles shrink and the vagina loses moisture. One of the best ways to keep your vagina in shape is to maintain a healthy blood flow to this important organ by continuing to have intercourse. Vaginal moisturizers, topical vaginal estrogen and physical therapy with vibrators or dilators can also help. I often tell my patients that when it comes to your vagina, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So, give your vagina the attention she deserves so you can continue enjoying sex after menopause!
MYTH #4. Change in estrogen levels is the only cause of low libido.
Sexual desire decreases with age in women and men. Between 1/3 and 1/2 of menopausal women have a problem with sexual function.2 While estrogen is a factor, a number of things can affect libido. For example, a woman may have a partner who has lost interest in sex or she may not have a partner at all. Some develop a poor body image as they age, which can also have a significant impact on libido. A number of women are frightened to have intercourse because of medical problems such as heart disease or severe arthritis, while others may be fearful that intercourse will be painful after a surgical procedure. Stress and weight gain can also decrease a woman’s desire for intercourse. Last but not least, there are many medications such as anti-depressants that may result in low libido as well.
MYTH #5. You do not have to worry about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) after menopause.
STIs should still be a cause of concern for menopausal women. As always, women are at risk when engaging with new or multiple sexual partners, or with a partner who has multiple sexual partners. Most STIs are more easily transmitted from a man to a woman than the other way around. If the genital tissues are atrophic, which is common among menopausal women, small tears and cuts can act as pathways for infection so it is important to practice proper condom use and get tested regularly.
MYTH #6. There is no safe way to relieve menopause symptoms.
It is estimated that 50 to 75 percent of postmenopausal women use alternative or nutritional support for occasional menopause symptoms. Some of the effective, botanical ingredients that can help provide menopause symptom relief include Black Cohosh root, which has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, and Magnolia Bark, which has been used for thousands of years to help reduce stress and irritability.* These ingredients have an exceptional safety profile and are a great start for relief and can be found in Estroven®’s line of menopause symptom relief products.*
Estroven® is a trademark of DSM.
^Dr. Pamela Dee is a paid spokeswoman for Estroven®.