Vaginal atrophy is a condition that almost 40% of women experience once they cross the age of 50. If you have been sensing symptoms like incontinence, painful intercourse, and repeated Urinary Tract Infections (UIT), it is advisable to talk to your doctor and look for solutions. Know that women who are approaching menopause can also have vaginal atrophy and you may want to get treatment to help with the symptoms so you can continue to live a healthy life.
Vaginal Atrophy Typically Results from Waning Hormones
Also called atrophic vaginitis, vaginal atrophy typically resulting from lowered levels of estrogen during menopause. As estrogen levels wane, the walls of the vagina start to become thinner and less elastic. As the tissues lose their flexibility along with the protective layer of lubrication, you may start to develop related problems.
If you see any of these signs, go ahead and schedule an appointment with your doctor.
- Dryness in the vaginal making intercourse painful
- A tighter and shorter vaginal canal that makes deeper penetration painful
- Light spotting after intercourse
- Burning sensation because of inflammation in the vagina
- Difficulty in controlling urine or incontinence
- Unusual discharge from the vagina
- Burning during urination
- Itching and burning at all times
- More frequent urination
You Can Have Vaginal Atrophy Before Menopause
Women go through fluctuating hormones all through life because of the changes in their bodies during menstruation, pregnancies, deliveries, and lactation. For this reason, you may sense pain and discomfort even though you’re not nearing menopause. Should you consult your doctor, he may suggest a course of action after asking you a series of questions like:
- Are you taking hormone therapy for treating breast cancer?
- Are you undergoing radiation treatment in the pelvic region for cancer?
- Are you taking prescription drugs for fighting cancer?
- Have you had your ovaries removed?
- Do you smoke?
- Have you had natural deliveries? (Surprisingly, women who have given birth naturally have a lower risk of getting vaginal atrophy.)
- Are you breastfeeding?
- Are you taking oral contraceptives?
You Don’t Have to Live with the Discomfort
Modern science has several solutions to help you with vaginal atrophy. Your doctor can put together a customized treatment plan to help you according to the specific symptoms you have. Here are some of the options:
- diVa Laser Therapy, which is a non-invasive treatment that repairs the walls of the vagina using laser energy.
- O-Shot or Platelet Rich Plasma injections that use a serum extracted from a sample of your blood to stimulate vaginal healing.
- Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, which balances the levels of hormones using natural, plant-based supplements that mimic the compounds produced by your body.
- EMSella, which uses high-intensity electromagnetic energy to repair the elasticity of the muscles in your pelvic region
In addition to these solutions, your doctor may suggest certain lifestyle changes that can supplement the effects of therapy. For instance, losing weight and quitting smoking. You could also switch to wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing that helps in blood circulation and eases inflammation. Being sexually active can also help maintain the flexibility of your tissues.
Vaginal atrophy need not take away from your self-esteem or get in the way of a normal professional and personal life. Rely on the expertise of your doctor to help you regain health and wellness.