|Copyright © 2005 Dawn M. Olsen. All Rights reserved
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Let's talk frankly, but sincerely, about what happens to your vagina and surrounding feminine parts during menopause. There are two key changes in the body that, for many women, cause a variety of sexual problems, including inability to properly lubricate, pain or discomfort during intercourse, increased urinary tract infections, and for some, urine leakage, especially when laughing, sneezing, or crying.
Not too pleasant, any way you look at it, is it? All this happens for two reasons: your body isn't producing as much of its feminine hormones as it once was, causing you to lose lubrication. Secondly, as you grow older, your muscles start to thin, including the muscles making up the walls of your vagina.
Fortunately, choosing diets rich in Vitamin E and soy products seems, for most women, to keep your muscles strong. In addition, pelvic exercises known as Kegels will strengthen your muscles, helping you to maintain a healthy and well-lubricated vagina. Kegels are deceptively simple to perform, and you can often exercise your pelvic muscles at the checkout line at the grocery store, while watching television, or while holding a conversation with someone - once you know what you're doing, no one will know!
To perform Kegels, imagine you're trying to stop your urine in mid-stream (or better, the next time you go to the toilet, go ahead and try it!). The muscles you engage in doing so are your pelvic muscles, and these are the muscles that you're aiming to exercise. The exercises themselves are as simple as flexing and relaxing your leg or arm muscles. Over a count of four, slowly tighten these muscles, making sure you're mimicking the action of trying to stop urinating and not engaging your abdominals, and hold the muscles tightened for a few seconds.
Then, in a slow and controlled motion, over the same count of four, relax these muscles. Do several sets of slow flexing and releasing, followed by repetitions where you flex and release the muscles as quickly as possible. Repeat this several times a day, whenever you think of it, and as the muscles grow stronger, increase the length of time you hold the muscles tight. Remember to keep breathing deeply and regularly throughout - this should not be a strenuous workout!
Remember to exercise your Kegels as often as possible, and don't be too modest or embarrassed to share the tip with others!
About the author:
Dawn M. Olsen is an Advocate for Better Women’s Health through Education, Recipe Developer, Soy Food Enthusiast and the Author of "Menopause A to Z - A Definitive Guide to Modern Menopause” available online now at http://www.MenopauseAtoZ.com
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