Lindsay Hamilton is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist with a particular interest in psychosexual matters. In this episode, we talk with her about sexual health in general, but, more specifically, about the vaginal atrophy. This is a medical condition which involves the degeneration of various parts of the vagina, the vulva, and even the rectum. As such, it is a condition which obviously can make sex, extremely uncomfortable and potentially very painful.
Between 50 and 80% of women with reduced oestrogen suffer from this condition, and yet it is virtually unknown or least spoken of very rarely. It can lead to tearing and adhesion within the vagina, the disappearance of the labia minora and the atrophy of the clitoris. For many years – indeed, for much of history – this has been just one more area of women's health and sexuality, which has been under researched and under discussed, women, once again, required to suffer in silence.
This is a condition largely of older women in that it is closely associated with the loss of the oestrogen in menopausal and perimenopausal women, but it can be found in younger women too, especially those who have had some gynaecological or cancer related treatments.
Apart from the very obvious medical consequences of this condition, it also helps us realise how important it is to develop non-penetrative sexual practices within a relationship and, once again, how important communication is in maintaining that relationship.
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