It is not a coincidence that women are particularly vulnerable to develop a thyroid condition at 3 times in their lives – puberty, pregnancy, and perimenopause/menopause. Our sex hormones and thyroid hormones are intricately connected. When our sex hormones shift we are vulnerable to have shifts in our thyroid hormones too and vice versa. Perimenopause and menopause can be more challenging for those of us with thyroid issues.
It’s a challenge too to determine which symptoms are menopause related and which ones are thyroid related. I wonder how many people are told their symptoms are all due to perimenopause or menopause when in fact they are really the result of an undiagnosed or inadequately treated thyroid condition.
Studies like the two I include in the references at the bottom of this article show female sexual issues with thyroid disorders including lowered libido, painful intercourse, impaired orgasm, and reduced vaginal lubrication. This topic is clearly quite complex when it comes to hypothyroid women.
Written by Lavinia Winch, The YES YES Company
How often when we read about menopausal symptoms do the health professionals focus on hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, and mood swings? Further down the list comes vaginal dryness and the advice is usually to use a lubricant if you are experiencing this condition and if sex has become painful.
The media is full of stories about women’s libido decreasing as we approach menopause and there are solutions, the latest of which seem to be testosterone which can be given to women to help with this problem or some laser treatment to the vagina. However, if vaginal dryness is causing discomfort it’s not really surprising that the reduced enjoyment during sex will not only affect your physical relationship but will also have an impact on your emotional relationship with your partner.
There are many reasons that vaginal dryness may occur through our lives. Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy and breastfeeding, medication for depression, the contraceptive pill, anxiety and stress and some decongestants can lead to dryness. Treatment for breast and gynecological cancer almost always causes extreme dryness due to estrogen depletion and is very distressing to these patients who are not always warned of this side effect. Certain medical conditions such as Diabetes, Sjögren’s Syndrome (an autoimmune disease that affects glands that normally produce lubrication, including the vagina), vulval diseases such as Lichen Sclerosis can all cause vaginal dryness and perhaps not necessarily so obvious, Hypothyroidism.
The American Sexual Health Association says:
Conditions such as thyroid disease and diabetes can result in reduced vaginal lubrication which can make sex uncomfortable and less satisfying.
It stands to reason that if certain medical conditions are responsible for vaginal dryness in our younger years, then these symptoms will be exacerbated as we approach perimenopause and menopause. We are all individual and each one of us will have a different experience of this stage of our lives, but as estrogen levels decrease we are very likely to find that our vaginal tissue is not as well lubricated or as flexible as it was when we were in the flush of youth.
So – it’s easy isn’t it? You just pop down to the drug store or your local adult sex store and buy some lubricant. You don’t bother to read the label because it must be safe if it’s being sold for intimate use mustn’t it?
In fact, even if you do read the label you probably won’t find a list of ingredients because manufacturers have not been obliged to display the ingredients. If you are a purchaser of organic food – you will read about where it has been produced. If you are already buying organic or natural cosmetics and beauty products you may choose products without Parabens or ingredients with long unpronounceable names which seem more appropriate in a chemistry lesson – but have you thought about what your lubricant may contain?
It is amazing how many women (and their partners) are quite happy to apply products with no guarantee of purity to the most sensitive parts of their bodies.
Back in 2003 Sarah Brooks and Susi Lennox, the founders of The Yes Yes Company sold their houses to fund three years of research into organic ingredients for a new pioneering formula water-based lubricant. Using plant polymer technology to complement human intimate chemistry they developed the world’s first lubricants certified organic by The Soil Association in the UK.
Most lubricants are formulated with glycerine which is a known vaginal tissue irritant and many are not pH balanced to prevent Thrush or Bacterial Vaginosis and can increase the incidence of UTIs (Urinary Infections). Many women find that they have an episode of Thrush following sex using a lubricant and others suffer from recurring UTIs sometimes known as the Honeymoon Disease – but these infections may very likely be due to the use of a lubricant which is too alkaline.
YES water based products are free from Parabens, Glycerine, Hormones, and all known skin irritants. They are pH balanced, designed to be side-effect free and are guaranteed gentle and pure with an organic accreditation. They include water and oil based lubricants, moisturizers, and an organic intimate wash and can be found at www.yesyesyes.org. YES products are also available online at Amazon. Susi and Sarah’s mission was to ‘Change the World from the Inside’ and slowly but surely the world is waking up to the reality that we need to take control of what we use to relieve the distressing symptoms of vaginal dryness. YES won Europe’s Best Organic Beauty Product 2016 Award.
- Oppo, A. et al. Effects of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroid autoimmunity on female sexual function. J Endocrinol Invest. 2011 Jun;34(6):449-53.
- Pasquali, D. et al. Female sexual dysfunction in women with thyroid disorders. J Endocrinol Invest. 2013 Oct;36(9):729-33.