A woman’s body undergoes a series of hormonal changes throughout her menstrual cycle, and even post that. You may have thought of ‘life after periods’ to be a bed of roses, but that’s not true, ladies! Once a woman enters the menopausal stage, there are dramatic shifts in the hormonal environment and the body produces extremely low amounts of estrogen. But there’s nothing to worry about, just that one needs to be more mindful and take extra care of their intimate area!
With less estrogen, the vaginal discharge becomes thicker and you may also notice some changes in the odour. That’s not all - the tissues of the vagina and vulva become thinner and drier. This can result in vaginal dryness that's common after menopause, or could also indicate bacterial or yeast infections, atrophic vaginitis, or related conditions. It is best to get yourself checked by a medical practitioner who can help you distinguish between normal postmenopausal change and infection-related symptoms.
In a nutshell, due to the decrease in estrogen, the pH-level of your intimate area is most likely to increase. This reduces the vagina’s natural acidic protection, and causes irritation and itching. This means that your intimate hygiene must be a priority after menopause!
Ways to maintain Intimate Hygiene
Several women opt for over-the-counter products to treat vaginal dryness. While some products do provide temporary relief, others may contain ingredients that could cause further irritation to the delicate and sensitive tissues of the vagina and vulva. In the past, women were encouraged to use douching as a technique to control symptoms. Today, douching is not recommended, since it may push bacteria higher into the genital tract.
Here are a few ways to effectively maintain intimate hygiene after menopause:
- Do not wash the intimate area too frequently, even if you feel there’s irritation or discomfort. Ideally, it is recommended to wash the area twice a day - once in the morning and once at night.
- Do not wash the area with water alone. Even if washing with water provides temporary relief, it can dehydrate mucous membranes. It's recommended to use a natural intimate cleanser for this.
- Use products with hydrating and soothing active ingredients that provide relief from irritation and discomfort.
- Try and avoid using antiseptic products on a daily basis.
- Avoid douching at all costs, since it can give rise to severe infections.
- Do not reach out for just any creams, even if you experience massive irritation. Instead, check with a doctor and then use soothing products.
- Do not wear synthetic underwear; instead, go for cotton ones. Remember, comfort is of utmost importance!
Exercises in the postmenopausal stage
After a woman enters the postmenopausal stage, the pelvic floor muscles start to become weak and eventually affect sexual function as well. According to studies, yoga can improve this condition, since it provides relaxation and strengthens the pelvic muscles in an effective manner.
Besides, kegel exercises involve contracting and relaxing the muscles of your pelvic floor, which supports your uterus and bladder in place above your vagina. The purpose is to tone these muscles in order to control some forms of urinary incontinence and prevent pelvic organ prolapse.
To begin with, identify your pelvic floor muscles by stopping the stream of urine, while you’re urinating. Once you’ve identified the target muscles, you can perform these exercises about three times a day.
Kegel exercises can also help address sexual problems by improving chronic vaginal pain or urinary incontinence. It is advised to perform these exercises on a regular basis to achieve great results!
Geetika Sachdev (Author)