Aging takes its toll on my organs and systems in the body. No one can ever entirely escape the affects of aging. No one can ever completely turn back the biologic clock. But we can conduct ourselves with good nutrition, exercise, and good lifestyle behaviors.
As we all get older, many things change and we often have to make allowances for them. Take our skin, for example. We use creams and moisturizers to combat aging and sagging of our skin as we enter middle age. And, just like our skin, it’s important to remember things internally like our joints, bones, and even vaginal tissue can also change with age.
As a woman enters menopause, vaginal changes may occur. The vagina can become shorter and narrower. And, as a woman’s estrogen levels start to naturally decline with age, the vaginal tissue can become less of a soft cushion for an erect penis to land. This allows more potential for increased friction, and intercourse can become quite painful for some women who have estrogen changes in the vagina.
In your fertile years, estrogen plays a key role in the development of your reproductive cycle and—among other things—helps keep your vagina healthy, i.e., soft, pliable, and accommodating to an erect penis. As a woman approaches menopause, her hormone levels start to plummet. Once menopause occurs, a woman’s estrogen production really starts to decline and can cause her vaginal tissue to change.
A new drug, Osphena® (ospemifene) works like estrogen in the lining of the uterus, but can work differently in other parts of the body.
Taking estrogen alone or Osphena® may increase your chance for getting cancer of the lining of the uterus, strokes, and blood clots. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the lining of the uterus. Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause, so tell them right away if this happens while you are using Osphena®.
You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with Osphena®.
Possible Side Effects
Serious but less common side effects can include stroke, blood clots, and cancer of the lining of the uterus.
Common side effects can include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, muscle spasms and increased sweating.
Bottom Line: The side effects of menopause are vaginal dryness and often painful sexual intimacy. Help is available. Women who experience these problems can be helped with topical and oral medications.