Why Are Doctors Failing to Diagnose Dyspareunia?
Women often don’t realize they have this condition and doctors aren’t asking the right questions.
How are you feeling? Hot flashes, night sweats, hormonal imbalances, weight gain. These symptoms are often brought up when discussing menopause during a doctor’s visit. But for many menopausal patients, mentioning that sexual intercourse is painful in response to that question from their OB/GYN seems irrelevant.
So why are so few women being diagnosed or treated for dyspareunia?
- No one asks: At least half of all postmenopausal American women suffer from vulvovaginal atrophy but only about 7 percent are taking medication to treat the condition, according to the North American Menopause Society. Dyspareunia is one of the symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), a disorder associated with a decline in estrogen. That dryness can make sex painful and unpleasant. But physicians tend to think that their patient will bring up the issue so they don’t usually ask.
- Women aren’t aware of the condition: That a drop in estrogen leads to dryness and can result in painful sex is one of the less addressed symptoms of menopause. Since many women have never heard of dyspareunia or know that it’s associated with menopause, they aren’t likely to bring it up during a doctor’s visit.
- It’s not covered: Treatment options include estrogen vaginal creams, inserts or supplements. Insurance companies tend to view dyspareunia as a lifestyle issue not a medical condition and therefore the out-of-pocket costs for treatments is often high. Thus many women simply don’t purchase the prescriptions and deal with the symptoms.
- Patients worry about risk with treatment: Some women refrain from seeking treatment because of their concerns associated with hormone replacement therapy.
Vaginal loosening and dryness are two symptoms of menopause that interfere with a woman’s life and can affect her both psychologically and physically. There are natural treatments available that can help you once again enjoy sex. To see if you’re a good candidate for these treatments, contact Dr. Ghozland’s office at 310.299.7143 to schedule a free consultation.