A woman's genital area often changes during, after or even just before they reach menopause. Many women can suffer from symptoms such as pain during sexual intercourse, vaginal dryness and itching and urinary discomfort. Thankfully, all of these symptoms can be easily treated nowadays. Treatments such as HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), oestrogen gels and female lubrication gels are all readily available.
Atrophic Vaginitis - What Is It?
At the neck of the female womb there are glands which produce fluids and lubrication (mucus), these fluids act to keep the tissue and skin around the vagina supple,tight and moist. Oestrogen levels in the females body directly affects these glands and the skin tissue and muscles around the vaginal area and this leads to vaginal dryness. The oestrogen affects the elasticity of the vagina and also the thickness of the vaginal lining. The oestrogen also helps to produce the natural proteins (glycogen) which helps to prevent infection in the vaginal area as well as prevent menopausal vaginal dryness.
When a woman reaches either perimenopause or menopause her ovaries will start to produce less and less of the oestrogen. This reduction of oestrogen leads to a thinning of the skin tissue around the vagina. The glands that produce the lubrication also start to reduce and the fatty tissue around the vagina also starts to reduce. It is very common for the vagina to change its appearance after going through "the change."
The reduction in the glands and the thinning of the skin results in vaginal dryness. The vagina may also start to lose its elasticity and the skin may also start to look paler than it did. These changes will start to occur over a period of months or years and the symptoms can vary greatly between different women. The proper medical term for these problematic conditions and symptoms is Atrophic Vaginitis.
Is Atrophic Vaginitis a Common Complaint?
Atrophic Vaginitis is extremely common and almost one in every two women will face some of the symptoms associated with atrophic vaginitis. The symptoms are likely to increase in years after menopause but can be experienced leading up to the menopause (perimenopause).
The Symptoms Of Atrophic Vaginitis
Not all women experience the aforementioned symptoms and may go through menopause with little discomfort. In some women however, some of the following symptoms may occur. Atrophic Vaginitis can be the cause of some of the following symptoms but they can also be caused by other infections or conditions. Always get the advice of your Doctor.
Painful And Uncomfortable Sexual Intercourse
Because the lack of oestrogen causes a reduction in lubrication, the vagina loses the ability to keep itself lubricated during sex. The vaginal dryness can make sex uncomfortable and even painful. The lack of moisture will ultimately lead to your vagina becoming sore.
General Discomfort in the Vagina
This can be caused by the Vulva being inflamed. Discharge from the Vagina. Vaginal discharge can be caused by infection which occurs because the Vagina's ability to fight infection is reduced.
The lack of moisture and mucus in the vagina makes the skin dryer and more sensitive in the vaginal area. This will make the vagina more likely to itch and irritate.
Atrophic vaginitis can be the cause of several urinary problems and they are usually y caused by the thinning of skin and muscle around the neck of the bladder or urethra. These symptoms can be anything from a need to get to the loo quickly or painful urinary infections.
Vaginal Dryness - What Can You Do?
The symptoms of atrophic vaginitis are varied and will be different for everyone. The cause for a lot of the symptoms of atrophic vaginitis are the lack of oestrogen, this can be treated by replacing oestrogen.
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
This form of treatment is not always popular with women, it involves taking oestrogen in tablet form or via gels or patches. There are pros and cons, but these will need to be addressed in a separate article.
A treatment that is successful for many women who are suffering from symptoms of atrophic vaginitis is the use of Oestrogen creams or a vagina ring which contains oestrogen. This enables you to apply oestrogen to the vagina area only over the course of about 3 months. Be careful when reading the instructions when using this treatment and make sure you apply the right amounts of cream. This is usually enough time to see the effects of the treatment. After a period of time the symptoms may occur again, so it is often necessary to be assessed by a Doctor and a second round of the treatment may be what is required.
Female Renewal (Vaginal Lubrication Gels)
One of the most common symptoms can be Vaginal dryness and if this is the only symptom that you have, then a Vaginal lubrication gel may be the only thing that you require. These gels (like Intivar ) have been designed and formulated to help replace moisture and to increase blood flow in the vaginal area. This increase in blood flow can help the Vagina to start lubricating itself again. Intivar Female renewal gel also has tightening properties which can also help with increasing enjoyment from penetrative sex. Read the full Intivar review elsewhere on this site.
Author: Jackie HJ White