After a break away from all things Menopause, Maga Conversations, Maga Sessions I'm slowly finding my way back into this realm again. It's reality that is still here and actually being talked and shared about more and more in the media and the community.
This is so good, I love living in this time where all that is and has been taboo and pushed away under carpets, floors, rocks and oceans is slowly and enthusiastically being pulled out, inspected and explored. The energy of the taboo as long as it is a taboo and has to stay hidden has done all kind of damage through contorting, stagnating, dissociating; creating sickness in bodies and communities.
Listening to a podcast about the menopausal transition yesterday, the word 'Vaginal Atrophy' stood out for me. I know about it and never fully explored it's meaning.
The etymology of atrophy: in ancient greek 'a' is against/ without and 'trophe' is food, nourishment.
We can translate it as 'without food', 'under nourished' and the meaning that has emerged is that of wasting away (due to lack of food), wither, shrivel, becoming emaciated.
The vagina needs food and nourishment in order to be healthy and flowering in her full potential.
Estregen is an important aspect of nourishment as it supports the mucosa, the delicate skin in the vulva and the vagina to be moist, plump and soft.
As the estrogen levels decrease when transitioning into menopause, the mucosa of the vagina can become dry and start thinning.
Due to that sexual explorations can become less desirable, unpleasantor even painful.
The nourishment of the estrogens is no longer present to feed the vagina. The genitalia always needs more ways to be attended to but now it becomes really important to consider other ways to nourish and attend to her.
It can be challenging for a woman, who goes through this transition to attend to her vagina. specially if she's one of the many for whom the sexual desire is declining and stress is increasing due to sleeping difficulties and hot flashes. For these women the 'down there' region can get really far away, so far that it's no attended to. That's when the atrophy, the under nourishment, the shriveling and withering can set in.
The best things to support the genitalia through the transition are making love with another, self pleasuring and massage, putting hands on her and breathing with her. Depending on how delicate she's become starting with breath and holding might be the way, then gently introducing a oil or yoni balm. Listening to her and talking to her are important. She wants to be coaxed back into connection, be considered and loved up.
For massage and lubrication sweet almond oil, coconut oil or avocado oil work really well if no latex condoms or barriers are being used. If there is just aloe vera is great or a natural lube like Sylk.
To bring the self care and massage up a notch I suggest to get a vaginal balm with wild yam extract. This extract has natural estrogens to support the skin of the vagina and vulva to become stronger and plumper again and to bring the lubrication levels up. It's usually safe to use this kind of balm but best to start with applying very little and observe any reactions.
I just went to Mullum Herbals to get their Vaginal Balm again after a year or so without. I've been pretty preoccupied with Tiny Home planning and negotiations so my stress levels are up and my libido is down. It feels so good to have the balm in the house again, I wanna almost eat it!
This practices are all quite easy to be implemented on a practical level but if you're struggling to connect in with your genitalia, if there are any blocks, pretexts, aversions please be in touch; a explorative counseling session over zoom or in person or even a Yoni Mapping Therapy Session could be really helpful.
There are also other ways to support the genitalia and all of you when going through this transition: relaxing practices, shiatsu, massages, counseling, circles, herbs and all the way to HRT with natural, bio identical hormones or not.
As always I like to pledge that each woman has her own unique journey with menopause and however she decides to support herself is perfect.