Dr. Tara Allmen, MD is the author of Menopause Confidential. She’s a New York City gynecologist who specializes in vaginal health for women over 40.
When I spoke to her, she gave me some enlightening tips for women who are going through menopause. (which she says, never really ends) Her book is written with a sense of humor and has fun chapter names like:
- Menofog rolls in, focus rolls out
- Who is the wrinkly old woman in the mirror?
- Potions, patches, and pills. Oh, my!
But it’s also thoroughly researched and based on scientific facts.
In the chapter, “The vagina is like Las Vegas, baby,” she talks about vaginal health and sex after midlife. Vaginal atrophy can occur whether you still have an active sex life or not and is the result of a lack of estrogen. It’s important to keep your lady parts healthy to avoid burning, itching, irritation, or infection from unhealthy bacteria.
Below are 3 tips from Dr. Allmen for vaginal health
1. Have regular checkups with a gynecologist who specializes in vaginal health for women over 40
After your childbearing years, you no longer need an obstetrician. Check with your insurance company and have them give you a list of gynecologists. Then call them to find out what their specialty is.
Sexually transmitted diseases are a big problem in the Baby Boomer community. Because pregnancy is no longer an issue, older couples stop using protection. The truth is, cheating happens even in committed relationships. Don’t assume your partner has been a saint. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls.
2. Give your Va Ja Ja plenty of moisture
Use a vaginal moisturizer at least twice a week. A moisturizer is a different animal than lube. It will give you long-term relief from dryness by holding the moisture on the surface of the cells in the vagina. You can use olive oil (it doesn’t need to be extra-virgin or expensive) or vitamin E oil for this. However, don’t use coconut, almond, vegetable oil or any other type of oil because they haven’t been conclusively studied and may cause irritation.
Lubricants (lube) will help relieve pain and minimize friction during insertion. If you’re over 40 and having sex, lube is essential. Popular brands include K-Y Jelly and Astroglide.
3. Give your kitty some love at least once a week
If you’re lucky to have an active and regular sex life, good for you. I’m jealous. Regular exercise is necessary for vaginal health. If you’ve been growing cobwebs down there, don’t despair. Dr. Allmen has some homework for you.
Yes, you guessed it. You have permission to “play with yourself” at least once a week. It will increase blood flow to your vagina and strengthen your bladder, which sits right on top of it. So if you sneeze and pee, like many of us mature women do, “exercise” sessions will help. You’ve been given doctor’s orders so go for it. Who needs a stinky old guy anyway, right?
Invest in a play toy to make your homework time more fun. Here’s one.