Ask the doctor: What can I do about painful sex?

Q. Since I went through menopause, sex has become very painful. I no longer enjoy it. Are there any treatments I can try?

A. Sexual intercourse should be a pleasurable part of your relationship, but for some women it becomes very uncomfortable after menopause. One common cause of painful sex (termed dyspareunia) is the drop in estrogen after menopause, which leads to vaginal dryness. Other reasons include conditions such as uterine prolapse, vaginal infections, tense vaginal muscles, endometriosis, lichen sclerosis (a skin condition that causes thinning of the genital skin), uterine fibroids, or pelvic surgery (for example, hysterectomy).

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