Vaginal atrophy which is also known with the name atrophic vaginitis is actually thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls because of decline in estrogen. It occurs after menopause but it develops at the time of breast feeding or at any other time when body’s estrogen production declines. Most of the women going from the condition feels painful intercourse and if intercourse gives you pain the naturally the interest in sex naturally wane.
Symptoms- You are going through any of the condition from moderate to severe, symptoms of vaginal atrophy can be burning with urination, vaginal dryness, more urinary tract infections, vaginal burning, urgency with urination, light bleeding after intercourse, discomfort with intercourse, urinary incontinence and tightening or shortening of vaginal canal.
When to Visit Doctor– Almost half of the postmenopausal women have faces the problem of vaginal atrophy but most of them even don’t visit their doctors because of the embarrassing symptoms of the problem. You must visit or consult your doctor in case of having any of the symptoms given above.
Causes- Decrease in estrogen production gives way to vaginal atrophy. Less circulating estrogen make the vaginal tissues thinner, less elastic, drier and more fragile. Vaginal atrophy may occur during breast feeding, after menopause, after pelvic radiation therapy for cancer, during the years which leads up to menopause, after chemotherapy for cancer, after surgical menopause and as a side effect of breast cancer hormonal treatment. The condition can be seen during the time of perimenopause and also it could not become the issue even after several years into menopause. This is a very common condition but not necessary that every women face the same condition. Regularity in sexual activities helps you to maintain healthy vaginal tissues.
Risk Factors– There may be so many factors that can give way to problem but some of the main ones are given here:
• Never giving birth vaginally- Some of the researches said that women who have never give birth to a child vaginally are at the higher risk of having vaginal atrophy in comparison to those who have had vaginal deliveries.
• Smoking- It is true cigarette smoking is injurious to health but it also impairs blood circulation, deprive the vagina and other tissues of oxygen. If the blood flow decreased to the vagina then it can contribute to some atrophic changes. Smoking habit also reduces the effects of naturally occurring estrogen in the body. So, women who used to smoke have an earlier menopause and responses very less to estrogen therapy in the form of pills.
Complications-Having the vaginal atrophy can give way to some of the changes in the urinary system which means development of urinary problems. It can be frequency or even urgency in urination. Some also feels burning sensation during urination. Even some women have urinary tract infections. Although stress incontinence is common condition for women having menopause but it doesn’t appear to be cause vaginal atrophy. Also, women who have vaginal atrophy are at the higher risk of having vaginal infections. The condition gives way to changes in the acidic environment of vagina and makes you more susceptible to infection caused by bacteria, yeast and other organisms.