Combating Infection Reduces Sexual Intercourse Pain for Women

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Pain during sexual intercourse, a condition called dyspareunia, may afflict as many as one in four women. It can be particularly acute for the nearly 65 million American women who are in the menopausal and post-menopausal age range – up to 45 percent of whom, according to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), experience pain during sex. Infections and dryness are among the most common causes of this problem, which can include chronic yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, both of which often reflect an imbalance of the yeast and bacteria to promote vaginal health.

“Many women are reluctant to discuss sexual health issues with their doctor, and clinicians may be hesitant to broach the subject,” says Dr. Michael Krychman, sexual medicine gynecologist, expert in survivorship medicine and author of many books including: 100 Questions & Answers about Women’s Sexual Wellness and Vitality, and 100 Questions & Answers about Breast Cancer Sensuality, Sexuality and Intimacy. “As a result, women often live with discomfort, believing that the clinician will be uncomfortable discussing the problem, or that this is 'normal' for an aging woman, or that no treatment options are available. None of this is the case, particularly given the effectiveness of over-the-counter non-hormonal solutions that normalize pH.”

Dr. Krychman helps couples overcome challenges to intimacy posed by life-changing events such as cancer, fertility problems and menopause, by working with the latest treatment options available to enhance individual quality of life. Dr. Krychman emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced pH (which refers to the vagina’s acidity level) to avoid chronic infections that can accompany dyspareunia. A vaginal pH of 3.5 - 4.5 indicates that there is a proper balance of beneficial bacteria (lactobacilli) and no overgrowth of the bad bacteria that can cause odor, irritation and in many instances, infection.

“There are over-the-counter products like RepHresh Vaginal Gel that enable women of any age to restore pH to its optimum balance of 4.3 and avoid infection that can lead to dyspareunia,” Dr. Krychman adds. “Too many women suffer in silence with low libido or painful sex because the conversation is taboo; we must break the silence and offer women real, easy to access solutions. The ready availability of products empowers women to take positive steps and enhance their sexual well-being.”