Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Sexual Solutions for Women?
I have recently stopped taking estrogen and am now experiencing vaginal dryness and the inability to climax. I had been taking estrogen since 1979 and have been off it for only a week.
Answer (Published 12/18/2002)

Vaginal dryness is a symptom of menopause that develops as estrogen levels decline. My colleague Monica Stokes, MD, a gynecologist practicing in San Francisco, tells me that while women are susceptible to hot flashes shortly after giving up ERT, vaginal dryness generally takes longer to develop.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness for Your Outlook - Happiness: it's just a click away. Especially when you have Dr. Weil guiding the way! has daily tools, weekly checklists, videos, recipes, and more, all designed to help you achieve contentment and happiness - naturally. Learn more today: start your 10-day free trial!

A number of options are available for treating vaginal dryness. You can ask your physician for a prescription for topical estrogen cream, which you apply several times a week. Alternatively, you could try Replens, a non-hormonal moisturizing gel. Several other nonprescription options are available:

  • Chasteberry: Generally marketed under the name Vitex, this is an herb that may normalize sex hormones. It can help to eliminate the many symptoms of menopause including vaginal dryness. It comes in capsules, teas and dry or liquid extracts at health food stores.
  • Black Cohosh: Another botanical remedy that can help reduce vaginal dryness. Try the German standardized product Remifemin in the recommended dosage or take 5-30 drops of a standardized extract two to three times per day. Allow six to eight weeks to see an effect.
  • Soy: Increase your intake of whole soy foods to two to three servings per day in order to get 50 to 150 mg of isoflavones daily. Here, too, results won't be noticeable for several weeks.
  • Vitamin E: Apply 400 -800 IU per day of oil from a capsule of vitamin E directly to vaginal tissues at bedtime. (You have to puncture the capsule to get the oil.) Caution: some people develop irritation as a reaction to this use of vitamin E.

Your inability to climax may be due to discomfort stemming from the vaginal dryness. If so, the vaginal lubricant Astroglide used just prior to intercourse can help. Dr. Stokes explains that sex can also become uncomfortable after menopause because the vagina tends to shrink (atrophy). The more gently and often the vagina is distended, the less it will shrink in diameter and the less likely women will be to experience discomfort during lovemaking.

Another possible remedy for female sexual problems after menopause is a battery-operated vacuum cup approved by the FDA a few years ago. Available by prescription, this device, called EROS-CTD, draws blood into the clitoris, which aids sexual arousal, sensation, vaginal lubrication, orgasm and sexual satisfaction.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related Topics

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here