New Research Says Lack Of Sex Makes Your Vagina Depressed
We all know that a healthy sex life keeps our immune system humming, lessens pain and relieves stress. It makes for a happier life. But what happens when we don't have a sex?
Well, according to a new research, we can become depressed. Or, more specifically, our vaginas may become “depressed."
Having a depressed vagina is a real condition, backed by science. Those suffering from this condition experience burning and itching sensations despite there being no signs of an infection down there.
Put simply, having sexual intercourse is an important part of women's health. Sexual abstinence can make our vagina depressed and this can also lead to vaginal atrophy, which causes the vagina wall to become thin.
“Vaginal atrophy or the thinning of the walls, could be due to a variety of factors," said Courtney Geter, a sex therapist. “Lack of sex could be one.
“The vagina is a muscle where consistent use can help maintain comfort with many activities including sex," Geter said.
“Sex and orgasm help blood flow to the muscles, which is needed for oxygen to reach the muscles as well. Just like with working out or daily activity. Consistent sexual play either with self or a partner is helpful."
Other factors that contribute to vaginal atrophy are smoking and no vaginal births. Vaginal atrophy can affect women of any age but is prevalent among menopausal women.
As we know estrogen is needed to regulate our ovulation and menstrual cycle. But when women experience menopause and stop producing estrogen, the walls become thinner and dryer.
It also affects women treated for breast cancer and women who have a medical condition called premature ovarian failure in which they stopped producing estrogen before they turn 40, according to Dr. Kenneth Taylor, an obstetrician and gynecologist.
There is a change of estrogen level in women, “when you see a thinning of the vagina, a loss of rugae, which are folds in the vagina, bleeding or loss of lubrication," Taylor said.
Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy
Still, study shows that most women aren't familiar with vaginal atrophy or its cause. And therefore, it's no news that many never mention their symptoms to their healthcare provider.
You may be experiencing vaginal atrophy if there is dryness, irritation and soreness. Some women may also experience a burning sensation, particularly when they pee, pain during sex and frequent urination. There may also be itching because of the loss of lubrication, Taylor said.
Geter said lack of sexual activity decreases the muscle tone, which causes the muscle to become weak due to lack of use. “They need some form of sexual activity with partner or with self to keep the muscles functioning," Geter said.
Natalie Elliott, a sex therapist, said she has seen at least two cases a year of women who suffer vaginal atrophy. And all of them have been 50 and older.
Most of them are women who haven't had sex for a long time and her job was to help them get mentally and physically ready again to have sex.
For women, having an orgasm is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, Taylor said.
Elliott said it would sometimes be months before a woman is ready to have sexual intercourse. And, of course, it helps to have a partner who is patient and supportive.
Curing Vaginal Atrophy
To help her clients suffering from vaginal atrophy, Elliot said she at first gets them used to being touched.
It could be as simple as going on a date and holding hands as well as experimenting with various forms of foreplay for a while before sexual intercourse happens.
She also recommends her clients use lots of lubricants. Moisturizers and lubricants will go a long way to improving the tissue.
There is also massage. Vaginal massage can help get the muscles relax and the blood flowing, Geter said. In the end, it's about exercising the tissue through various forms of sexual activities. How often will vary according to the person or relationship, Geter said.
“Some people may find one to twice weekly preferable and some may find one to twice a month more preferable," Geter said.
Having sex or engaging in any form of sexual activity on a regular basis is an important part of women's health.
Estrogens creams and tablets are also recommended to revitalize the tissue and restore the body's natural hormone level. Although, Taylor cautions that women should seek professional help in choosing the right treatment.
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