You say you experienced “pins and needles” during intercourse in your last relationship, and of course it’s difficult to feel amorous when you’re expecting pain. That’s a common description of what it feels like to have genitourinary syndrome of menopause (also called vulvovaginal atrophy) or vulvodynia. A careful pelvic exam by a skilled practitioner can diagnose the condition.
There are treatments available, starting with moisturizers and including hormones, either local or systemic, and other medication options. But a clear diagnosis is the first step.
And then the relationship component. A strong and supportive relationship is an important part of libido and desire for most women. At midlife and beyond, though, we face the “use it or lose it” phenomenon: Here’s a blog post that addresses a “maintenance plan” so that when you find the relationship that’s worth it, you’re ready for intimacy.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.