Vaginal atrophy is the thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls caused by low estrogen levels. It is a common condition of post menopausal women, but it can be easily treated
Vaginal atrophy commonly occurs:
- After menopause
- During the years leading up to menopause (peri-menopause)
- During breast-feeding
- After surgical removal of both ovaries (surgical menopause)
- Following pelvic radiation or chemotherapy for cancer
- As a side effect of breast cancer hormonal treatment
Vaginal atrophy due to menopause may begin to bother you during the years leading up to menopause, or it may not become a problem until several years into menopause. Although the condition is common, not all menopausal women develop vaginal atrophy.
With moderate to severe vaginal atrophy, you may experience the following vaginal and urinary signs and symptoms:
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal burning
- Vaginal discharge
- Genital itching
- Burning with urination
- Urgency with urination
- More bladder infections
- Urinary incontinence
- Light bleeding after intercourse
- Decreased vaginal lubrication during sex
- Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal
- Discomfort with intercourse
Vaginal atrophy leads to changes in the acid balance of your vagina, making you more prone to vaginal infections (vaginitis) and bladder infections.
Certain factors may contribute to urogenital atrophy, such as:
- Smoking Cigarette smoking affects your blood circulation, resulting in the vagina and other tissues not getting enough oxygen. Smoking also reduces the effects of naturally occurring estrogens in your body. In addition, women who smoke typically experience an earlier menopause.
- No vaginal births Researchers have observed that women who have never given birth vaginally are more likely to develop vaginal atrophy than women who have had vaginal deliveries.
- No sexual activity Regular sexual activity, with or without a partner, increases blood flow and makes your tissues more elastic.
Many women find relief with over the counter vaginal moisturizers or water-based lubricants. Bothersome symptoms that don't improve with over-the-counter treatments will most often respond to hormone therapy (estrogen). Hormone therapy is safe and generally effective.
Another option to consider is Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation. The RenovaLase procedure by Fotona has been designed to reverse vaginal atrophy. Using an Erbium laser through a specialized vaginal instrument, the vaginal tissues are exposed to a non-ablative laser. This stimulates new collagen and allows the body to repair the vaginal skin.
Women who have the RenovaLase procedure report increased vaginal lubrication and decreased pain with sex.
RenovaLase is one of over 40 laser treatments offered at NOWhealth for:
- Skin Rejuvenation
- Hot Sculpting
- Hair Removal
- Toenail Fungus
- Stress Urinary Incontinence
More information about Sexual and Bladder Health:
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