Who is at Higher Risk of Postmenopausal Vaginal Atrophy?
In every women’s life menopause is the period that happens when her ovaries stop to produce eggs anymore. Most women during post-menopause period notice some changes in their genital and vaginal areas. These changes include discomfort and dryness during sex or may also develop bladder related problems.
What is Post-menopausal Atrophic Vaginitis?
Post-menopausal Atrophic vaginitis or vaginal Atrophy is thinning or inflammation of vaginal walls caused by reduction in estrogen levels. It happens most commonly after menopause but it may also occur at the time of breast-feeding or other time when estrogen levels decline. Usually post-menopause starts when a woman does not have her periods for one year or more.
What are the causes of atrophic vaginitis?
The main cause of vaginal atrophy is decline in estrogen levels. Less estrogen levels make vaginal tissue less elastic, more easily injured and more fragile. The decline in estrogen levels may happen at other times, including
- After removal of ovaries
- During breast feeding
- After chemotherapy for cancer
- After hormonal therapy for breast cancer
- After pelvic radiation for cancer
Regular intercourse keeps your vaginal tissues healthy.
Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy
With mild or moderate to severe atrophic vaginitis, one can experience the following urinary and vaginal symptoms.
- Vaginal burning
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal discharge
- Urgency with urination
- Genital itching
- More urinary tract infections
- Burning with urination
- Painful intercourse
- Tightening and shortening of vaginal canal
- Urinary incontinence
- Spotting of blood after intercourse
Risk factors that cause vaginal atrophy:
Certain risk factors that are associated with vaginal atrophy are:
- Irregular sexual activities
- Cigarette Smoking
- No vaginal births
What are the treatments?
There is possibility of improving your vaginal health and even quality of life with the following treatments. Treatment mainly focuses on the type of symptoms or underlying causes.
Hormonal replacement therapy: It involves taking estrogen in other forms like gel, tablet or patches. It is the most effective treatment in relieving your symptoms.
Estrogen creams and other tropical preparations:
Tropical preparations work effectively to restore estrogen in vagina or surrounding areas instead of giving to whole body. Sometimes, pessary, vaginal tablet, cream or ring containing the hormone estrogen is suggested. These are injected in to the vagina that releases low doses of estrogen hormone in to the surrounding tissues.
Lubricating gels can help for vaginal dryness not the hormone creams.
Lifestyle and home remedies for prevention:
- Don’t wear tight-fitting and loose cotton clothing which may improve your symptoms as they provide good environment for the growth of bacteria.
- Some evidences say that vitamin D can increase the moisture in vaginal tissues and also help to absorb calcium in the body. This prevents the post-menopausal bone loss.
- Stay active during intercourse as it stimulates natural moisture and improves blood circulation in the genital or vaginal area.