Collapsed V

If you take into consideration that the average life span for a woman is around eighty years, sixty-two seems awfully early to be retiring your vagina. Don’t you think?

In fact, as long as we’re talking “retirement,” I feel like I ought to bring up the vagina that has been in perpetual retirement, and by that I mean the “virgin” vagina, a vagina that has never been penetrated with a penis or dildo. First off, I’d like to say: It’s never too late. And if you are starting late, or starting early, or coming out of “retirement,” please consider a vaginal dilator, as it will definitely make a world of difference.

When you have sexual intercourse for the first time (or you’re penetrating your vagina with a dildo or even a finger for the first time) it is common and completely normal to experience some degree of pain, discomfort, and bleeding, which is why using a vaginal dilator is a good way of readying yourself. I don’t know any “first timer” who hasn’t thought, “How much pain will I experience my first time?” or “When will I stop bleeding?” or “How long will it take for sex to actually feel good?” To that end, I’ve always wondered, “Who decided that this “first time” female rite of passage should involve so much pain?”

Even the term “popping the cherry” sounds daunting. For starters, it can be helpful to understand that this term refers to the breaking of a woman’s hymenal ring, the thin, circular or crescent shaped fold of mucous membrane over the vaginal opening, which varies in shape and size from woman to woman. This hymenal ring is the “cherry,” and although it is broken with sexual intercourse, it can also break with recurrent tampon use, exercise, masturbation, or fingers. In other words, you can be the first to pop your own cherry, if you so desire!

Vaginismus

As discussed in the TLC V chapter, Vaginismus is a condition in which the muscles of the vagina contract, tighten, or spasm involuntarily, causing vaginal pain, sexual discomfort, burning, and penetration problems. One commonly experiences symptoms on an ongoing basis—during sexual intercourse, inserting a tampon, and during a pelvic examination—resulting in a disruption of intimacy, personal relationships, and daily life activities. Vaginismus is both emotionally challenging and physically painful, especially when even the most basic of habits, such as tampon use is cause for anxiety and fear. It has ruined relationships and self-esteem, and claimed responsibility for sexless, unconsummated marriages.

But there is no longer a reason for any woman to suffer in silence from a Collapsed V caused by this condition or any other, for that matter. There are better ways!

Clitoris: Out Of Service

Unfortunately, collateral damage of a Collapsing V can often include what I would describe as an “out of service” clitoris—medically referred to as acquired orgasmic dysfunction (AOD).

If you’re finding it harder and harder to have an orgasm in menopause, it may be because your clitoris is no longer taking the hint. Physiologically, it makes sense, especially when you consider how helpful estrogen is in achieving orgasm. When the ovaries stop producing estrogen this translates in less blood flow to the vulva, clitoris, and vagina, causing the entire area to become thinner, drier and more delicate. A combination of menopause and other medical conditions such as diabetes andside effects of certain medications makes having an orgasm that much harder, if not impossible.

Treatment for the Collapsing V

It took months, if not years, for your vagina to join the ranks of Collapsed V, so, in order to restore it, to make it vital and elastic again, you must dedicate yourself to new routines and habits that may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in order to see results. You must embrace a new normal in feminine rituals. These new routines may feel as welcome as calculus homework, at first, but your Collapsing V will ultimately benefit from those treatment routines—which may include hydration/moisturizing, dilation, physical therapy, and HRT (hormone replacement therapy), or some combination thereof.

Hydration, Please!

First order in avoiding pain in vaginal penetration is to begin with a moist vagina.

You may remember a time when just the thought of intimacy and sex made you “wet.” Imagination and anticipation may have been all you needed, and it may have worked great in your twenties and thirties, but, with life and all the complications that come with growing older, getting wet is probably not as easy as it used to be.

Chances are that, if you’re nearing (or over) fifty, unless you have the proper foreplay to become sexually aroused, “getting wet” may, sadly, be impossible. If the vagina does not get wet, it means that it isn’t producing a natural lubricant, the result of which is dry, painful vaginal sex. Also, the friction of sexual contact and penetration can cause the natural vaginal lubricants to dry up. Ultimately, this may be due to a drop in estrogen, caused by—you guessed it—menopause.

In fact, the two main hormonal assaults on the body that result in a drop in estrogen—and lead to a dry vagina—are menopause and breastfeeding. Of course, breastfeeding occurs during your reproductive years, while menopause typically happens at around age fifty. But the good news is that both of these hormonal conditions leading to vaginal dryness are reversible. Once you stop breastfeeding, the vagina will return to its normal healthy and hydrated state. However, dryness in menopause may be remedied with a variety of treatments, including vaginal estrogen, DHEA, hyaluronic acid, HRT, over-the-counter lubricants, vaginal suppositories, and laser treatment.

Additionally, the Mona Lisa Laser treatment—a treatment similar to facial micro-abrasion in that it removes dead cells, and increases blood flow and collagen production inside the vagina—has been proven successful in battling dryness. Three painless 3-minute sessions just six weeks apart and yearly thereafter seem to do the trick. In between treatments, vFit, a home-use intimate wellness device using red light therapy, can help to promote blood flow and natural vaginal lubrication by improving pelvic floor tissue and muscles. Together, Mona Lisa and vFit make a great team in combatting vaginal dryness and getting your vagina back in shape! For those not ready for Mona Lisa, vFit is a great start

Dilators to the Rescue!

Also referred to as expanders, dilators should be part of any conversation with your health-care provider in combating a Collapsed V. Relatively new in the arsenal to battle vaginal dryness, dilators have been lauded as a welcome and effective treatment as they can re-train, expand, and gently stretch the entrance and canal of the vagina.

If you’re trying this method, it’s recommended to use a set of vaginal dilators varying in sizes and thickness, from small to large—soft silicone dilators are the most comfortable and work best with the vagina as they minimize vaginal infections and tearing. The trick is to start with the smallest size and leave it inside the vagina for five to twenty minutes, two to four times a week. Duration of therapy is individualized for each woman, depending on the cause and circumstances of dryness. Best to use a comfortable lubricant or extra virgin coconut oil as you insert the dilator while lying on your back with your knees bent. In fact, a well-lubricated dilator and vagina is a must! Performing Kegel exercises at the same time as insertion is thought to help relax the pelvic floor muscles and make the process easier. | ← Previous | | | Next → |

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