Wondering if clitoral pain during menopause is normal?
You’re not the only one.
The hormonal shifts that happen during menopause can cause all sorts of changes to your vagina and vulva, the clitoris included.
We’ll take you through the details.
But first, a quick look at what menopause is and what’s behind all the changes in your body.
In this article: 📝
- What is menopause?
- Can menopause cause vulvar pain?
- Can menopause cause vulvar burning?
- Does menopause affect the clitoris?
- Why does menopause cause a sore clitoris area?
- When should I be concerned about a sore clitoris area during menopause?
What is menopause?
Menopause is when your menstrual cycles stop (after a lifetime of partaking in the egg-producing and maturing routine!).
During menopause, your ovaries stop making eggs, and your levels of estrogen and progesterone decline.
Menopause is made up of three phases: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
This is the lead-up to menopause. It’s the time when hormones begin to shift and periods become irregular or stop.
Menopause itself is actually just one moment in time.
Once you’ve been period-free for at least twelve months, then you have officially hit menopause.
This is the next phase of your life after menopause has happened.
Through each phase of menopause, hormonal changes can cause all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms.
Some of the more usual ones are hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and insomnia.
But a sore clitoris area is also common in menopause.
Can menopause cause vulvar pain?
As you go through menopause, you may notice various changes in your body, including to your vulva and vagina.
(Quick refresher: the vulva is the outside part of your genitals, including your labia and clitoris. The vagina is the part that goes inside your body up to your cervix.)
Before menopause, estrogen and progesterone — the incredible hormones responsible for periods and fertility — also prompt your body to release fluids that keep your vulva and vagina flexible and moist.
During menopause, when your body stops producing these hormones, the vaginal tissues get thinner and dryer.
And — no, it wasn’t your imagination — your vulva can even start to look different.
These changes often mean irritation and pain in the vagina and vulva.
Can menopause cause vulvar burning?
Yes, menopause can lead to irritation on your vulva.
Often the vulvar discomfort you may experience during menopause can be described as a burning sensation.
Others experience it as a milder itching or soreness.
Does menopause affect the clitoris?
Yep, even the clitoris can be affected by menopausal changes.
The clitoris — the soft bump above your vaginal opening — is your pleasure center.
Like other parts of the vulva and vagina, the tissues around the clitoris can get thinner and dryer due to menopause.
It can even get smaller.
This can change how stimulation feels during sex.
It’s likely to be less sensitive than before.
And sex might even become painful.
Why does menopause cause a sore clitoris area?
The medical term for the vaginal changes you experience during menopause is genitourinary syndrome of menopause.
(It used to be called vaginal atrophy but that term doesn’t quite describe the complex changes that happen over this time.)
Basically, your vagina walls become thinner and drier.
Other symptoms include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Soreness, burning, or itching of the vulva or vagina (clitoris included)
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex
- ]Tightening of the vaginal entrance](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264279/)
- Vaginal discharge (white or yellow)
- Urgently needing to pee
- Urinary tract infections
When should I be concerned about a sore clitoris area during menopause?
Clitoris, vulva, and vaginal discomfort are common during menopause and are usually nothing to worry about.
But you might want to visit your doctor if:
- You have unusual bleeding.
- You have any rashes, redness, or skin changes.
- You have abnormal discharge.
- You think you might have an STI.
- It’s affecting your day-to-day life.
Menopause symptoms can put a dampener on things.
But when you’re feeling a little down about it, remember that menopause is also a time for a fresh look at life.
It’s a new phase and an opportunity to refocus yourself.
Sometimes you might feel like you’re in this thing alone.
If you’d like to build connections with other women, come and chat with our menopause community on Peanut.