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Women's Health Topics..

 
You are here : home > Women's Health > Problems Associated with Menopause > Vaginal Changes

Vaginal Changes

Estrogen is the main female hormone, responsible for all reproductive functions. Menopause is due to estrogen deficiency. This deficiency brings about a lot of changes in sexual organs. Vaginal tissues become thinner and lubrication decreases, thus making intercourse painful.


Is menopause responsible for atrophic changes affecting sexual organs?

Estrogen deficiency as a result of menopause leads to atrophic changes and reduced blood flow in the genital tract and urethra. This relative ischaemia is related to the atrophic changes, which occur in the genital tract such as thin skin, sparse hair, and vagina shortening and diminished vaginal and cervical secretion. The consequences of these changes are increasing dyspareunia and apareunia, genital tract trauma, loss of libido, voiding difficulties, painful urination, increased urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence.


How can I combat vaginal infections resulting from menopause?

Vaginal tissues become thinner with menopause and therefore become more susceptible to irritation and infections.  Vaginal lubrication could also decrease considerably, making quite painful.  In this case, the use of water-soluble vaginal lubricants could help mitigate this problem.  Estrogen treatment (through Hormone Replacement Therapy) could also reverse vaginal atrophy.


What is vulvovaginal atrophy?

The condition called vulvovaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis or urogenital atrophy can be caused during the menopause period. During this period the tissues of vulva (outer part of vagina) become inflexible, dry and thin. This condition is known as vulvovaginal atrophy. This condition is mainly caused due to low level of estrogen. Reduced estrogen levels result in decrease in the vaginal secretions causing this condition. This drop in the level of estrogen may also result in the locations in the pH balance of vagina and making it less acidic. Due to these changes the vagina may become just as it used to be before puberty.


Symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy

Let us take a look at some of the common symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis or urogenital atrophy experienced in vaginal area.
  • Itching
  • Inflammation
  • burning sensation
  • excessive dryness
  • Leakage of urine
  • pain during intercourse
  • discharge
  • burning sensation while urinating
  • absence of lubrication during intercourse
  • Frequent infections
  • Changes in the vaginal canal
When such symptoms are observed, you must consult your doctor without any hesitation.  Vulvovaginal atrophy is not only caused due to menopause but also due to other issues. It can be caused due to the removal of ovaries, radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. It can also be caused as a result of the side-effect caused due the hormonal treatment for breast cancer.  Decreased level of estrogen due to breastfeeding may also result in atrophic vaginitis or urogenital atrophy. It can also be a result of consumption of medications that may cause estrogen levels to drop.

There are several ways in which vulvovaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis or urogenital atrophy can be prevented. Lubricating vagina is one of the common ways to deal with the symptoms. Another ways include using vaginal tablets or cream which help to administer estrogens through vagina and which can help to prevent the symptoms from becoming severe. However, these vaginal tables may not be suitable for all women. Therefore, it is a must to ask your doctor to prescribe such tablets or lubricant for you and avoid using any over-the-counter remedies.

Most of the women feel shy to discuss these problems with the doctor as these disorders are related to menopause and reducing sexuality. In fact, regular sexual activity is said to improve these condition. Therefore, there is no need to worry and whatever problems are faced should be brought to the notice of doctor in order to prevent it from becoming worse.

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103 Comments
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Saira.7 years ago
why do women get irritated and go through depression during the phase of menopause?
 
 
 
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Shell.7 years ago
where is the article?
 
 
 
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Kate.7 years ago
having come off hrt after 10 years i have started hot flushes again. any advice?
 
 
 
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Jane Doe.7 years ago
menopause in itself has its purpose which i assume is to prevent an older woman from having children and not living long enough to care for the child. apparently our bodies have not yet evolved to catch up with the longer life span.it is my opinion that the side effects of menopause are a freak of nature and that if this were to happen to the male population, every government would spend millions in research to prevent the devasting effects --some of which are never even discussed and no one knows exists until it happens. hair, skin, nails, and particulary changes not only of the vaginal area, but of the vulva as well. if the males sexual organs were to shrivel up by the age of 50, i repeat, there would be a world wide panic for prevention.
 
 
 
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t.7 years ago
im 16 and get hot flushes daily and sometimes they last all day. am i going through menopause?
 
 
 
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june roberts.7 years ago
needs more info on herbal remadies
 
 
 
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Caroline.7 years ago
having just discontinued hrt, i am experiencing constant hot flushes. as i am visiting a sars affected region soon, if they taked my temperature when i am experiencing a hot flush (which is exactly like a rigor), will i be whisked away and confined to quarters until it becomes obvious that i don't have sars?
 
 
 
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Question on Clomid.7 years ago
i am taking clomid fertility drug for 3 / 4 months now and have sweating most nights - is this a side effect of clomid or might it be menopause. i am 40.
 
 
 
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Janet.7 years ago
in reply to "t" -
although not impossible, it would be extremely unlikely that you would be going through menopause at your age. there are other conditions that can cause excessive sweating. i suggest that you hav a word with your doctor, if only to put your mind at rest. all the best to you.
 
 
 
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wendy.7 years ago
i also have stopped hrt after 10yearsand have started hot flushes again.i am going to try and stick it out without going back on hrt.just hope it does'nt last to long .
 
 
 
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