Though it’s not a topic often discussed even among the women experiencing it, vaginal dryness is a common issue for many women after they have gone through the changes of menopause. Known in the medical field as part of a condition referred to as atrophic vaginitis, vaginal dryness after menopause occurs when the lowered production of estrogen begins to affect the glands that produce the fluids and mucus that keep the vaginal skin and tissues moist and supple. As these glands, which are located at the neck of the womb, begin to suffer from a lack of stimulation from estrogen, they produce less and less mucus and fluid, which then causes the vaginal skin and its surrounding tissues to become dry. In addition, the tissues become thinner and the lining of the vagina begins to lack elasticity.
Issues With the Tissues
Problems can arise from this lack of elasticity, thinness, and dryness, not the least of which is painful intercourse.
There are actually a number of symptoms associated with atrophic vaginitis and the vaginal dryness it causes, including:
- Painful sex. Because the vagina often becomes smaller after menopause and is drier and less lubricated even during intercourse, sex can begin to cause discomfort to the point of pain. The thinning of the tissues also make them more fragile, which can worsen the pain as a result.
- Vaginal discharge that is white or yellow, though this can occur if there is an infection. If the discharge has an unpleasant odor, the possibility of an infection should be investigated by a urogynecologist or another specialist.
- Itchiness and sensitivity in the vaginal skin due to a lack of moisture.
- Urinary issues including urinary incontinence and regularly occurring urinary tract infections. Vaginal dryness often leads to thinner, weaker tissues around the neck of the bladder or the urethra, which can compromise the strength of these organs in controlling the processes of urination.
- Discomfort or vaginal pain, which may present itself as soreness and redness in the vaginal area.
Increasing the Moisture Point
Though there may be other causes of vaginal dryness that may need to be ruled out before an exact diagnosis may be made, women who suffer from the effects of atrophic vaginitis may find relief from the use of vaginal creams for dryness, which are specially formulated to contain estrogen. A medical specialist in women’s healthcare will be able to advise the best options on how to treat vaginal dryness for each patient’s particular case, though technological procedures such as the diVa® laser vaginal therapy may be a great alternative solution that will help restore firmness, elasticity, and strength to thinned tissue layers of the vaginal walls and can work greatly in tandem with hormone replacement therapy options.
Don’t suffer a dry season! Call the team at Coyle Institute to schedule a consultation today!