Just as age affects your overall health, it affects your vagina, too. Here’s how aging affects it and a few tips to help the vagina transition smoothly through these changes.

1. Vaginal Walls Start Thinning
Once you hit 40, there’s a drop in the estrogen hormone, which makes the mucous membranes in your vaginal walls susceptible to trauma. You are more likely to experience tears or inflammation, which can make sex painful.
Cope With It: Take a mirror and examine the color inside the opening of your vagina. If it is a pale or very light color, it means your vaginal mucosa (or mucous membrane) is fragile. Visit your gynecologist for an examination.

2. Vaginal Atrophy
As your estrogen levels drop, your vaginal opening, called the vestibule, becomes narrow. This can lead to pain, especially during penetration, but may subside once you experience insertion. Almost 90 percent of vaginal pain occurs in this region.
Cope With It: Your gynecologist may refer treatment using a vaginal dilator in combination with some lubricant. The dilators are available in different sizes and will help improve the elasticity of your vagina. Your doctor will initially ask you to use this for five minutes on a daily basis.

3. Medication
Once you hit your 40s, you already experience vaginal dryness as a result of low estrogen levels. Certain medications, such as birth control pills, anti-depressants and anti-histamines, can worsen the situation.
Cope With It: Any medication that lists ‘dry mouth’ as a side effect will also cause dryness in your vagina. Make sure you read the label before starting a new medication. Your gynecologist will suggest a number of methods to help with the vaginal dryness. These may include lubricants that are water-, silicone- or oil-based. While having sex, saliva can work as a lubricant during foreplay.

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A pregnancy & babycare writer as well as wellness believer, Debolina is always trying to bring in health and wellness into her family’s, especially her kids’, lives. With a Master’s degree in English literature, she has worked with several mothercare and babycare brands. In her free time, she helps with campaigns that work towards promoting the health and well-being of women and babies. Her experiences as a mother help her talk about busy modern-day parenting and its changing trends.