If you’re following current CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you’re probably spending a lot of time at home and socially distancing. That means you may be having more quality time with your partner. But sometimes intimate health can get in the way of that quality time. Luckily, understanding a bit about intimate wellness and talking to your doctor can help with any issues you may have.
What is Intimate Health?
Intimate health can refer to a number of different aspects of a woman’s reproductive and sexual health. The term may be used in references to a variety of different conditions that affect the female genitalia or reproductive organs (such as STIs, yeast infections, vaginitis, etc). However, when we’re talking about women’s intimate health and wellness here, we are referring to issues that make it difficult for a woman to enjoy sexual intercourse. Specifically, we’re going to focus on issues that may be related to aging and menopause.
Issues with Women’s Intimate Wellness
Because there are many different aspects to intimate health, issues are bound to occur every now and then. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, it’s estimated that about one-third of young and middle-aged women have a sexual health problem. About half of older women have a sexual problem. Sometimes issues with intimate wellness are due to life changes or health conditions.
For women, sexual changes are often a part of aging and menopause. The following are common problems women may have with intimate wellness:
- Vaginal Dryness: Vaginal dryness often occurs due to decreasing estrogen associated with menopause. Some medications may also contribute to vaginal dryness. Dryness may result in discomfort and can result in painful intercourse.
- Vaginal Laxity: Vaginal laxity is a looseness that occurs in the vagina. It can happen after vaginal childbirth but it may also be associated with menopause or aging. Laxity can cause a loss of sensation during intercourse.
- Low Sex Drive: A noticeable drop in sex drive may be caused by physical factors such as hormone imbalance or vaginal discomfort. Other issues related to menopause (fatigue, insomnia, mood swings) can also contribute to low libido.
Improving Women’s Intimate Health
There are several ways that intimate health and wellness can be improved. Depending on your unique situation, your OB/GYN can provide treatments with hormone therapy or non-invasive therapeutic procedures.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be effective for managing many symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. It is also a frequently recommended treatment for sexual health issues like low libido and vaginal dryness.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy using pellets is often more effective than other forms of HRT because pellets deliver consistent, healthy levels of hormones for an extended period of time. Pellet therapy using hormones like testosterone can help with dryness, libido, and even improve sexual response.
Not all women are good candidates for hormonal treatments. There are other non-hormonal treatments available that can help with intimate wellness.
MonaLisa Touch is a laser treatment that can help with women’s intimate health by stimulating a healing response in vaginal tissue. The treatment stimulates the development of new collagen in the tissue, which helps with problems like vaginal dryness that causes painful intercourse. It can also help with vaginal tightening and improve sensation.
MonaLisa Touch uses a probe with a specialized laser that is inserted into the vaginal canal. The laser energy targets the vaginal tissue to promote collagen production and mucosal revitalization.
Treatment with MonaLisa Touch usually consists of three in-office procedures performed over the course of 12 weeks. Many women notice results after their first treatment and continue to see improvements as treatment continues. After the three procedures are completed, it is recommended that you come back for an annual maintenance treatment.
Geneveve is a treatment that helps treat vaginal laxity. It helps generate new collagen using heat therapy. This treatment was developed and tested specifically for delicate vaginal tissue. It uses patented deep-heating energy combined with surface cooling to safely deliver heat to the tissue and stimulate collagen formation.
Geneveve is non-invasive and painless. It is a 30-minute treatment performed in the office. You will see improvements within 30 days of treatment and the full results will be noticeable after about 90 days. Results can last up to 12 months or longer.
The team at Triangle Physicians for Women is here for you in all stages of your life and we’re happy to offer patients treatments that can help them improve their intimate health. We remain committed to providing you with comprehensive care during these uncertain times. Our top priorities are always the safety and health of our patients and staff. For more information on our policies for COVID-19, call the office at (919) 678-6900 or click here for details.