Vaginal Atrophy: What You Don’t Want to Talk About, But Should
Vaginal atrophy is a treatable, chronic condition that refers to the thinning of the wall of the vagina. Vaginal atrophy is a common condition which results from the hormonal changes that occur at menopause (the time when menstrual periods have ceased); after childbirth; from underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity; or due to the side effects of medications such as chemotherapy. This can greatly affect quality of life, even making sitting, standing, exercising or urinating uncomfortable. It can also cause pain during intercourse.
The earliest symptoms are decreased vaginal lubrication (dryness) and pain during sexual intercourse, followed by other vaginal and urinary symptoms that may be exacerbated by superimposed infection. Vaginal atrophy also can increase your risk of vaginal infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
“Vaginal Atrophy: You are not alone…you can’t bring down the pain until you bring it up!”
- According to the VIVA Survey, almost half of postmenopausal women surveyed in Canada experience vaginal discomfort. Among these women, 88% experienced vaginal dryness and 49% experienced pain during intercourse
- According to the CLOSER Survey:
- 27% of Canadian women said vaginal atrophy made them lose confidence in themselves as a sexual partner
- 3 out of 4 Post-Menopausal Canadian Women avoid intimacy due to vaginal dryness and soreness
Who is at Risk for Getting Vaginal Atrophy (Atrophic Vaginitis)?
- Women 50+
- Menopause (most common cause)
- Lack of sexual activity
- Pregnancy or recent childbirth
- Post episiotomy
- Premenopausal periods
- Post menstruation
- Removal of ovaries
- Pelvic radiation therapy in cancer patients
- Early menopause through cancer treatment
What Causes Vaginal Atrophy?
Vaginal tissue is kept moist, elastic and comfortable by lubrication which is naturally created by glands at the neck of the womb, and governed by the body’s production of estrogen. The hormone estrogen helps maintain that fluid and keeps the lining of the vagina healthy, thick, elastic and acidic (low pH). When the ovaries’ production of estrogen is disrupted, vaginal tissue becomes dry, thin, and less elastic which lends itself to being more fragile and may tear and/or bleed. This thinned endometrium and increased vaginal pH level, induced by estrogen deficiency, predisposes your vagina and urinary tract to infection and mechanical weakness. This often results in itching and burning, increased vaginal infections, and pain during sexual activity.
- Dryness of the vagina
- Burning and/or itching of the vagina
- Dyspareunia (pain during sex)
- Vaginal discharge
- Vulvar itching (pruritus)
- Feeling of pressure
- Urinary frequency
- Urinary tract infections
- Stress incontinence
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Burning during urination
Vaginal dryness during sexual activity at any age may simply mean that you need more stimulation and maybe even to experience orgasm before penetration. Experiment with different types of stimulation to discover what feels best and is most arousing. In fact, regular sexual activity helps maintain vaginal flexibility and pliability, presumably because it increases blood supply to the vagina and can also have a stretching effect. If these measures do not help, over the counter (non-prescription), non-hormonal products are the first line of help.
Some women find that non-prescription treatments work well, especially for mild symptoms. Non-prescription treatments are hormone-free, have few side effects and are considered an appropriate and ideal first-line therapy.
In fact, non-prescription vaginal moisturizers are recommended as a first line treatment by the Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC). They are applied locally and act immediately. Moisturizers, unlike lubricants, are designed for internal vaginal use and provide longer lasting relief of vaginal dryness compared to lubricants.
What is Gynatrof and How Can it Help?
- A non-hormonal approach for the treatment of vaginal atrophy
- Fast onset of action with effective reduction in severity of vaginal dryness, burning, itching and painful intercourse symptoms
- Significant reduction in symptoms in first week of treatment and after 8 weeks, most symptoms are completely gone
- Can be used with latex condoms
- Non-sticky with no messy discharge
Get yours here.