Aunt Vadge: I’m nearly postmenopausal and my vagina hurts – what’s happening?

A Chinese-Australian woman sits sadly at her kitchen table with a pot and cup of hot tea, pondering her sore vagina.

Dear Aunt Vadge,

I would like help with some issues surrounding my sexual health, namely, painful sex. I’m almost postmenopausal, and have been prescribed Ovestin oestrogen cream for the painful sex.

I don’t know if the pain is due to vaginal dryness or vulvodynia. Possibly both.

I’d be grateful for any help.


Age 57, Australia


Hi there Hurting,

The later stages of perimenopause are characterised by a reduction in circulating oestrogen, which provides support for vaginal tissue. There are several safe ways to increase oestrogen levels a little, including using foods and herbal medicine both vaginally and orally, while also supporting the adrenal glands.

You can work to increase local and systemic oestrogens by increasing phytoestrogen-rich foods (see this searchable list) and using Aunt Vadge’s Fennelope. I’d start with every night for two weeks, then use as needed.

Fennelope, with fennel oil, helps rebuild the vaginal epithelial cells, which in the later stages of perimenopause can can become dry and easily irritated due to lowered oestrogen levels, making sex painful.  

You may also like to try Femular Forte, which I’d recommend for 9-12 months, as it works best over time, with a cumulative effect. Please ensure it is safe for you to take.

Every packet of Femular contains a three month supply, one tiny easy tablet per day provides a clinically proven dose of menopause-specific herbal medicine. It’s an excellent product, and very easy to take. 

If you’re not seeing improvements after 2-3 weeks with these interventions, you would be a perfect match with Simone Jeffries, our resident peri/menopause expert naturopath! She will be able to help you in a more personalised way than I can, as one of her main areas of interest is helping women in perimenopause and menopause with various symptoms and stages, but also treating vaginal issues. 

You can book in for a PeriMeno Quickie, which is 15 minutes, and while it’s quick (and costs less than the other types of appointments) the form you fill out first provides much of the important information.

Alternatively, you can choose to dive in deeper if you have other health concerns, for a 30 minute Quickie or a 60 minute Comprehensive Care consultation. 

Warmest wishes,
Aunt Vadge


  1. 1.
    Waetjen LE, Crawford SL, Chang PY, et al. Factors associated with developing vaginal dryness symptoms in women transitioning through menopause: a longitudinal study. Menopause. Published online October 2018:1094-1104. doi:10.1097/gme.0000000000001130