Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby; Let’s Talk About You and Me!

Regular readers will recognize that I am close to plagiarizing a recent article title used by my wife when she wrote about HPV in the third article of the Data Driven Docs series. I have her permission to follow her idea with this title. That said, perhaps she should be writing this article as well, for it deals with a common symptom she encounters during her well woman gynecology visits- the dreaded vaginal dryness! Men? You’d best read on if you know what’s good for you. Your sex life may be at risk if you don’t!

Business Wire dated April 24, 2013… Research and Markets reports on the study “EpiCast Report: Postmenopausal Vaginal Atrophy – Epidemiology Forecast to 2022”. According to the article: “This new report found that up to 50% of post-menopausal women experience symptoms of vaginal atrophy, but only a quarter of these individuals seek medical treatment, and cultural and social attitudes toward sexuality and aging play a huge role in this.”

The authors of the study predict that based on the increasing population age, the numbers of women that experience symptoms of vaginal atrophy will increase by 1.45% per year! Vaginal atrophy? What does that mean? As age increases, hormone levels decrease. As testosterone and estradiol levels decrease, vaginal tissue becomes atrophic (thinner, more fragile, dry). Ouch! Sex suddenly hurts.

Men, pay attention. My wife gives this advice in hushed tones behind closed doors in her office: “Women need to have sex three times per week to maintain vaginal tissue health.” That’s right! If you don’t use it, you lose it!

Doctor’s orders, honey! Honest! I’m only looking out for your well-being! We should have sex tonight because it’s almost the weekend and we’ve only had sex once this week! Guys- this actually works. Trust me – coincidentally (or not), this article was written over a two day time period. You do the math! Gals- Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that you visit Win-Place-Show when your guy is out of town to ensure you maintain your vaginal health. It’s called make-up sex!

Gals- the study cited above is even more interesting when you consider that the majority of the women surveyed lived in Europe. Approximately 50% of women report symptoms of vaginal atrophy, but only one fourth seek treatment. European women are much more open about sex than we are. Based on a survey of my bioidentical hormone replacement patients, 99% not only experience these symptoms but are willing to report them if asked.

Social mores or not, sex is an extremely important part of a relationship. We need to be comfortable talking about sex with both our partner and our doc. If your doc isn’t comfortable talking about sex it is difficult to make the conversation work. My dad is an OB/Gyn and I married one. I grew up hearing about uteruses (uteri?) and vaginas at the dinner table; a line of conversation that continues to this day!

Tired of feeling tired all the time? Hormone levels out of whack? Vaginal atrophy symptoms? No zip behind the zipper? Talk to your doc or stop by and see me. I experienced low testosterone at the age of 40 and started doing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in my practice because I wasn’t willing to continue the status quo. Take care of yourself!

Disclaimer: Dr Stephen Rath, MD, DABA is a board certified anesthesiologist, Air Force flight surgeon, paramedic, and pilot as well as the owner and medical director of Fusion Medical Spa located in Ruidoso, NM. He might not be able to fix everything but he can certainly help your sex life. Comments or questions? His email address is: