Atrophic vaginitis, also known as vaginal atrophy, is a common condition experienced by women, particularly during menopause.
In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of vaginal atrophy, helping you better understand this problem and how to deal with it.
Causes of atrophic vaginitis
The main cause of atrophic vaginitis is the reduction in the production of estrogen, the main female hormone.
Menopause is the most common cause of this reduction, but other situations can also lead to a decrease in estrogen, such as surgeries to remove the ovaries, chemotherapy that affects the functioning of the ovaries, early menopause and early ovarian failure.
In addition, the postpartum and breastfeeding period can lead to temporary vaginal atrophy due to a decrease in estrogen production. Other situations that can cause drastic hormonal changes include hypothalamic disorders and autoimmune diseases.
|Menopause||Vaginal atrophy is common in women entering menopause due to decreasing levels of estrogen in the body.|
|cancer treatment||Hormone therapy and radiotherapy can cause vaginal atrophy as a side effect.|
|amenorrhea||Lack of menstruation can cause a decrease in estrogen levels and lead to vaginal atrophy.|
|Breast-feeding||Breastfeeding can cause a decrease in estrogen levels in the body, leading to vaginal atrophy.|
|smoking||Cigarette smoking can affect blood flow to the vagina and lead to vaginal atrophy.|
|Hysterectomy||Removal of the uterus can affect estrogen levels in the body and lead to vaginal atrophy.|
|autoimmune disease||Some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, can affect estrogen levels and lead to vaginal atrophy.|
Smoking can also contribute to vaginal atrophy, as can some medications used to treat breast cancer.
Symptoms of Atrophic Vaginitis
The main symptoms of vaginal atrophy include dryness, difficulty in natural lubrication, discomfort, cuts and cracks in the vagina, pain during sexual intercourse, itching and burning. Changing the pH of the vagina can also make it more susceptible to infections and discharge.
|pain during sex||Due to lack of lubrication, intercourse can be painful and uncomfortable.|
|Vaginal dryness||The vagina can become dry and irritated due to the lack of estrogen, leading to itchiness and discomfort.|
|vaginal itch||Lack of lubrication can lead to irritation and itching in the vaginal area.|
|Urinary incontinence||A lack of estrogen can weaken the muscles of the bladder and urethra, leading to urinary incontinence problems.|
|vaginal bleeding||Due to the fragility of the vaginal walls, there may be bleeding during sex or even without sexual activity.|
Diagnosis and treatment of atrophic vaginitis
To diagnose atrophic vaginitis, it is important to consult a doctor, who will be able to identify the signs through a physical examination or other complementary tests, such as pH measurement or ultrasound.
Treatment for atrophic vaginitis usually involves local hormone replacement using vaginal creams or pills that contain estrogen. These medications have the advantage of not being absorbed in large amounts into the bloodstream, preventing interference with other treatments or medical conditions.
In some cases, systemic hormone therapy, oral or transdermal, may be indicated to alleviate menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness. Also, using lubricants during intercourse can help reduce discomfort.
|local hormone replacement||Treatment for atrophic vaginitis usually involves local hormone replacement using vaginal creams or pills that contain estrogen. Topical estrogen creams can improve the quality, thickness, and lubrication of vaginal tissue. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for hormone therapy, and long-term adherence to treatment can be challenging for some patients.|
|vaginal lubricants||Vaginal lubricants can also be used to ease discomfort during sex and reduce vaginal dryness.|
|kegel exercises||Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve urinary incontinence.|
|laser therapy||Laser therapy can be used to stimulate vaginal tissue growth and improve elasticity and lubrication. In the last decade, laser treatments traditionally used in dermatology have been adapted for use in the vaginal area. These treatments can improve the thickness, elasticity and hydration of the vaginal tissue, stimulating collagen and elastin production and increasing local blood flow.|
|Systemic estrogen therapy||In more severe cases, systemic estrogen therapy may be required. However, this form of treatment may interfere with other treatments or medical conditions and should be discussed with a doctor.|
|radiofrequency therapy||Similar to laser therapy, radiofrequency treatments heat the vaginal tissue, promoting collagen synthesis and improving lubrication.|
|collagen stimulators||Injectables such as hyaluronic acid and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can be used to improve the quality of vaginal tissue.|
Atrophic vaginitis is a common problem among women, especially after menopause. Understanding the causes and symptoms of this condition is essential to seek adequate treatment and improve quality of life.
If you suspect that you are experiencing this problem, consult a doctor for the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Vaginal atrophy is a common and often distressing condition, but there are several treatments available to help women manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Sexual health is an essential aspect of overall well-being, and seeking professional help for vaginal atrophy can make a significant difference in a woman’s life. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or consult your doctor.