At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 193
SLUG SLUG ▲
IT SHOULD BE
FOR MANY WOMEN
IT'S MORE PAIN
WORDS: DAWN LATON, IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK
ex is one of life's pleasures.
It's fun, free and a great way
to establish an intimate
bond with someone special.
But what if it's not like that
for you? There are several reasons why
sex may be diﬃcult, so it's important
not to suﬀer in silence.
Dr Christian says: 'Vaginal pain is
usually the result of infection, with
thrush a common cause. Fibroids,
sexually transmitted infections,
endometriosis, and psychological
issues are also common reasons
why sex could be bothersome.'
The vagina produces moisture to keep
it supple. The lubrication also acts as
a cleaning mechanism. This moisture
normally increases during sex, but if
it doesn't, sex can be uncomfortable
or even impossible.
Vaginal dryness can be a problem
during the menopause owing to a
reduction in oestrogen levels, which
makes the vaginal tissues thinner
but if it keeps
or there is
out at a
and dryer. Medication and emotional
issues can also contribute to this.
Over-the-counter vaginal moisturisers
help to increase moisture levels, while
lubricants can make sex much
If there are other symptoms, such
as hot ﬂushes and diﬃculty sleeping,
it may be a sign of the menopause.
itching. If the soreness or itching is
an allergic reaction, the chemist
can advise on antihistamines.
However, if self-help measures don't
help, or symptoms get worse, your GP
can arrange further investigations.
This is known as dyspareunia and
there are dozens of possible causes,
including vaginismus (spasm of the
vaginal muscles, making sex painful
This can be caused by an infection,
or impossible), pelvic inﬂammatory
such as thrush or trichomoniasis, the
disease, endometriosis, ﬁbroids,
menopause, a skin condition such
infection or injury.
as psoriasis or dermatitis, or a
health condition, for
can also make sex
example diabetes. It
may also be caused by
A COMMON CAUSE OF
an irritant or allergic
A DRY AND PAINFUL
reaction to certain
VAGINA IS LACK OF
foods or products,
often soaps and
OF FOREPLAY IS KEY,
It can also help to
ESPECIALLY AS YOU
take penetrative sex
If there is no
oﬀ the menu for a while
infection or underlying
and focus on massage,
illness, look after your vagina
stroking and kissing instead.
by using unperfumed products
Devices such as vaginal dilators are
and gentle, non-bio washing
useful, too. They come in a variety of
detergents, wearing cotton underwear,
graduated sizes, which help women
wiping from front to back after using
to gain gradual control until they are
the toilet, and changing tampons or
ready for natural penetration.
towels regularly during your period.
If pain is recurrent, a GP visit may
Over-the-counter mild steroid cream,
be necessary. A diary of how often and
with 0.1% hydrocortisone, can be used
where pain occurs might be useful.
for up to seven days to help relieve
www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2018 | 193