Atrophic Vaginitis (Vaginal Dryness)
After menopause most of the women feel changes in their vagina and in the genital area. The changes also include discomfort and dryness during sex. Additionally bladder symptom are also associated with this disease. These can easily be handled with treatment. The treatment may include oestrogen cream, hormone replacement therapy and lubricating gels.
Causes of atrophic vaginitis
Before menopause tissues and skin around vagina are moist by the fluid. The fluid is made by the gland found at the neck of womb. Oestrogen a female hormone affects this gland and as a result the whole process become interrupted, which results in the thickness and of lining of vagina and it became more elastic as well. oestrogen also functions to produce glycogen, it is a compound which helps to induce the helpful bacteria to protect the lining of vagina.
After menopause the ovaries become unable to produce enough oestrogen. Oestrogen deficiency leads to thinning of the tissues of vagina and severe reduction in the number of glands occurs which produces mucus. Additionally you also loose fatty tissues around your vagina. This will give different look to your vagina after menopause.
In simple words we can say that hormonal changes after menopause make vagina less elastic, shorter and drier. These changes may develop after few months of menopause or may take years to develop. These changes also vary from woman to woman.
How common is atrophic vaginitis?
Soon after the menopause more than half of the women develop some symptoms of atrophic vaginitis. The symptoms become vigorously increase as the time passes after menopause. It became more severe in women who are embarrassed and feel shy to consult with their doctor.
Symptoms of atrophic vaginitis
These changes occur without causing any discomfort and symptoms. But some of the symptoms may develop in some women. Atrophic vaginitis can be caused by the following problems. But it is also known that these symptoms may also be caused by some other medical problems.
- Pain during Sex: this is a general case because after menopause your vagina become shorter and deprived of lubricants which facilitate during sex. Additionally the skin of vagina is fragile than ever in the past and it will make the case more worsen.
- Discomfort: discomfort occur when your vagina is red and sore.
- Vaginal Discharge: the fluid may be yellow or white in color. It may form due to infection. If the fluid is smelly then it is possibly due to infection.
- Itching Sensation: the skin of vagina is very sensitive and is prone to itch. This will cause irritation and you most probably scratch the skin and itch occurs. This can be easily called itch or scratch cycle and is difficult to avoid this condition and become distressing.
- Urinary Problems: it is associated with number of urinary problems. This happens due to the weakening and thinning of the tissues of urinary bladder. The problems can also occur in the opening for urine to pass.
Treatments for atrophic vaginitis
The symptoms vary from individual to individual and are not present in all the women. Treatment depends on the symptoms, as the problems is normally associated with deficiency of oestrogen it can be cure by replacing the oestrogen in tissues.
HRT (Hormone replacement therapy)
This refers to the taking in of oestrogen in the form of gel, patches and tablets. This is the best ever method to treat atrophic vaginitis. But most of the women don’t have desire to use HRT. HRT are associated with both advantages and disadvantages.
Topical Preparations and Oestrogen creams
A cream, vaginal tablet pesseary and ring which contains oestrogen. Pessary is usually a small soluble block that is inserted in vagina. While tablet is inserted with the help of a small applicator. Rings is a circular tube like apparatus which contain oestrogen.
If the problem is only vaginal dryness then hormone creams are not advisable because of the other health related issues then only the lubricating gels are recommended.