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Cheryl Hines's character, Cheryl David, on Curb Your Enthusiasm certainly has many awkward conversations on the show with co-star and on-screen husband, Larry David. Anyone remember the water bottle one?
Well, the Emmy-nominated star recently teamed up with AMAG Pharmaceuticals to raise awareness about an awkward real-life topic: painful sex after menopause. The campaign is called The Painfully Awkward Conversations (PAC) campaign, which aims to raise awareness among women suffering with painful sex after menopause and empower them to get comfortable talking about it with their health care professionals.
This condition, known as vulvar and vaginal atrophy, or VVA, is due to hormonal changes that can lead to physical changes in the vagina, such the loss of vaginal tissue, lubrication, and flexibility. These changes can cause symptoms like dryness, irritation, frequent urination and painful sex.
"This challenge affects a lot of women, but many aren't speaking up," says Hines who was drawn to the PAC's humorous approach to this topic. "I really want to encourage women to speak about this themselves and then with a [health care professional.]"
While the thought of talking about your sex life with a health care professional may seem daunting, Hines wants to remind you, "You're not going to be the first person to ask this question." She wants women to know that, "Other people are probably experiencing things [you're] going through."
In fact, millions of women in the U.S. aren't enjoying sex because of the pain or discomfort with sexual intercourse that results from the changes in our bodies that happen after menopause. They aren't talking about it with each other, with their partners, or even with their health care professionals. And they aren't seeking treatment because they don't understand that what they are experiencing is a common, treatable medical condition.
If you don't speak up, it won't get better on its own. There are various options for the treatment of VVA, including estrogen and non-estrogen prescription medications. If you're experiencing painful sex, you should speak with your health care professional to find a treatment option that is right for you.
Hines suggests maybe speaking with your spouse or partner about painful sex symptoms first before speaking to a health care professional. Ultimately, you need to do what makes you most comfortable and remember you are your best advocate. "Your [health care professional] can't guess what's going on with you. You have to tell them."
Go to www.PauseSexPain.com to learn more about the campaign, educate yourself on painful sex due to menopause and learn how to feel comfortable discussing this condition with your health care professional.