*****(The squeamish should not read this post; I’m going to talk about vaginas, labias, vulvas, ass cracks, sexual dryness, discharge, yeast infections, jock itch, crotch scratching, making underwear from sandpaper, money, and goo)*****
I have decided that menopause is stranger than puberty, it doesn’t matter how or when you get to it, it’s just weird. Every woman is different, physically, and menopause affects us all differently. However, somewhere in the Menopause Manual, they should have mentioned sandpaper underwear…
Here’s the deal, one of three things happens to a woman when her hormones go all wonky because they are shutting off: they have no change to their vaginal discharge, they suddenly have a ton of it, or it dries up like the playas of Death Valley.
I was prepared for option 1 and option 2. I knew people that had experienced 1 & 2. Two was not exactly something I wanted to happen. I know one woman who had to constantly wear liners to soak it up, because it was that bad.
However, option 3 had never, ever, ever been mentioned to me. Not by a woman, not by a doctor, not by an alien trying to find a good spot for a probe, nada. I knew that women experienced dryness, especially when sexually aroused and that the dryness could actually hinder sexual arousal in the physical sense. But that’s not really the dryness I’m talking about.
One random day, I developed the female equivalent of jock itch on a 17 year old athletic boy who refused to wash his strap because it would ruin his luck. It was bad. I thought of all the things that might have happened and settled on hives from some sort of weird allergic reaction. And it didn’t go away. For days I sat around scratching my crotch like a guy. I scratched in my sleep. I woke up sore one morning from scratching in my sleep. Oh, it was awful.
Washing it made it worse. How is that even possible?!? So, after a few days of this horrible itch, I figured I had to have a yeast infection or some strange fungus growing from the front to the very back edge.
So, I went to see my gynecologist, fully expecting him to come up from under the sheet with a group of mushrooms and pronouncing that to be my problem. Imagine my horror when he came up and said everything’s fine, no yeast infection, no other infections, just dry skin, extremely dry skin, it can happen with menopause. Use these items to help.
What the hell do you mean it’s normal?!? I’m considering shaping underwear out of sandpaper and that’s normal? Seriously? Where was that in the manual? I want a page number and possibly a paragraph reference because I don’t remember that ever coming up in any conversations I have had with a human being about menopause.
Being me, I came home and Googled it and then I bought a couple of books on menopause. Nope, not in the books, both written by doctors. I did find a few references to this phenomenon on Google, but not many. The women that had posted the stuff was in agreement with me, it was time to invent sandpaper underwear.
Eventually, I broke down and spent money on the lotions and special soaps for extremely dry skin in your lady bits. One more instance of my wallet being affected negatively by menopause, because those aren’t cheap either. If I use them regularly, I no longer consider sandpaper underwear a survival necessity.
In an odd side note, my best friend is 12 years old than me; I’m 36, she’s 48. She is/was (I need to ask) experiencing the same itch, but her doctor told her she was not menopausal in the slightest and that her’s was, in fact, a yeast infection. Using this information and after a round of antibiotics, I ended up treating a yeast infection several months after the itch started. Treating the yeast infection did not fix the itch and during that time, I was not supposed to use the lotion and special lady bits soap. By the time I got rid of the yeast infection (two days later), I was ready to remove my sensitive fleshy bits again with my fingernails. Treating the infection actually made the itch worse… Oh the irony of that situation. (For those that don’t know, yeast infections are similar to jock itch, which is a fungal infection related to or possible the same as ring worm)
My conclusion is that someone needs to put that in a brochure: If you are menopausal and suddenly feel like you need sandpaper underwear, consult your doctor because you either have a serious yeast infection or your lady bits are trying to mummify. Good news; both are treatable! Bad news; yeast infections are cheaper to treat than mummification, so be prepared for that.