Vaginal Atrophy Vaginal Atrophy

Vagial atrophy

Do you experience pain during an intercourse, vaginal discharge or bleeding?

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Vagial atrophy

Vaginal atrophy is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that may occur due to lower estrogen levels.

For many women, vaginal atrophy not only makes intercourse painful but also leads to distressing urinary symptoms. Because the condition causes both vaginal and urinary symptoms, doctors use the term “genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM)” to describe vaginal atrophy and its accompanying symptoms.

Many postmenopausal women experience GSM. But few seek treatment. Women may be embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their doctor and may resign themselves to living with these symptoms. Simple, effective treatments for GSM are available. Reduced estrogen levels result in changes to your body, but it doesn’t mean you have to live with the discomfort of GSM.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any unexplained vaginal spotting or bleeding, unusual discharge, burning, or soreness. Also make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience painful intercourse that’s not resolved by using a vaginal moisturizer or water-based lubricant.

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SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of vaginal atrophy may include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal burning and/or itching
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful intercourse
  • Spotting or bleeding
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity
  • Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal

It can also affect your urinary system and cause symptoms. These may include:

  • Burning with urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence

CAUSES OF VAGIAL ATROPHY

Vaginal atrophy is caused by a decrease in estrogen production. Less estrogen makes your vaginal tissues thinner, drier, less elastic and more fragile.

A decline in estrogen can occur at other times besides menopause, including:

  • during breastfeeding
  • after removal of ovaries (surgical menopause)
  • after chemotherapy for treatment of cancer
  • after pelvic radiation therapy for treatment of cancer
  • after hormonal therapy for treatment of breast cancer

Regular sexual activity helps keep vaginal tissues healthy. A healthy sex life also benefits the circulatory system and improves heart health.

RISK FACTORS

Certain factors may contribute to vaginal atrophy, such as:

Smoking. Cigarette smoking affects your blood circulation, and may lessen the flow of blood and oxygen to the vagina and other nearby areas. Smoking also reduces the effects of naturally occurring estrogens in your body.

No vaginal births. Researchers have observed that women who have never given birth vaginally are more likely to develop GSM symptoms than women who have had vaginal deliveries.

No sexual activity. Sexual activity, with or without a partner, increases blood flow and makes your vaginal tissues more elastic.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of genitourinary syndrome of menopause may involve:

  • Pelvic exam, during which your doctor feels your pelvic organs and visually examines your external genitalia, vagina and cervix.
  • Urine test, which involves collecting and testing your urine, if you have urinary symptoms.
  • Acid balance test, which involves taking a sample of vaginal fluids or placing a paper indicator strip in your vagina to test its acid balance.

TREATMENT FOR VAGIAL ATROPHY

Some treatments are meant to treat the symptoms of atrophy. Others address the loss of estrogen, which will also act to relieve symptoms.

With the right treatment, it’s possible to improve your vaginal health and your quality of life.

VAGINAL LASER THERAPY

The diVa laser treatment is the newest evolution of laser vaginal therapy built on years of experience. The treatment is quick and we can target specific regions to improve localized issues, as well as the broader benefits in addressing vaginal atrophy.
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TOPICAL ESTROGEN

Vaginal estrogen has the advantage of being effective at lower doses and limiting your overall exposure to estrogen because less reaches your bloodstream. It may also provide better direct relief of symptoms than oral estrogen does.
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The images and/or videos are not presented as a guarantee of result. The results may vary. Patients gave their consent for the publication of images and/or videos.

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At Steinberg Urology we pride ourselves on our compassionate care we offer to those facing challenges that affect their quality of life. Our urologists have years of experience and a commitment to excellence.

If you need to discuss this sensitive medical concern, schedule a consultation at our clinic in a safe confidential environment. Let us help you achieve optimal health and wellness in a professional setting.

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