I’m Post-Menopausal- Do I Need to Worry About Sexually Transmitted Infections?

If you’re menopausal (at least a year since your last menstrual period), you can still get Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). In fact, because of the changes your body has gone through, you could be more vulnerable than when you were menstruating regularly. Why? Hormone level changes during perimenopause (the years of menstrual cycle changes that lead up to menopause) and after menopause cause vaginal tissue to becomes less elastic and thinner. There also can be a decrease in natural vaginal lubrication. These changes can mean that the vagina is more likely to tear during penetration, even if they are tiny tears you can’t feel. These tiny tears can be the perfect entry point for infections and viruses.

 

New Sex Partners

If you’re having sex with a partner whose sexual history or health is unknown to you, talk to them about safer sex. Use male or female condoms for vaginal or anal sex, dental dams or condoms for oral sex and lots of lubricant (or lube). There are lots of different kinds available these days, many of them at major pharmacies. You might not have used lube before, but it will help you enjoy sex so much more! It helps with vaginal dryness and increases sensation for both partners. It can be especially helpful if it’s been some time since you used condoms and you feel out of practice. 

If in doubt, talk to your doctor  about changes in vaginal health and your sexual health overall. If you’re at a point where pregnancy and/or  birth control aren’t an issue, you certainly don’t want to have to worry about other things in its place. 

 

More information:

 

Youshouldknow.ca: Sexual health science, culture and news for women edging to middle age, parents and educators. Info on sexually transmitted infections, relationship dynamics, aging and sexual health, and sex education.

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