Vaginal Atrophy: Symptoms and Home Remedies

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Among the various sufferings faced by women in their vaginal area, Vaginal atrophy is one of them.  It is a chronic medical condition that affects women after their menopause. Around 50%-60% women suffer from vaginal dryness or atrophy postmenopause. Even younger women suffer from dryness in their vagina during their periods. Let’s grasp a deeper insight into this problem.

vaginal atrophy symptoms

In this article:

What is Vaginal Atrophy?

Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy

Causes of Vaginal Atrophy

Risk Factors

Complications of Vaginal Atrophy

Prevention of Vaginal Atrophy

Treatment for Vaginal Atrophy

Home Remedies for Vaginal Atrophy

Lifestyle Changes

Homemade or Natural Remedies for Vaginal Atrophy

All You Need to Know about Vaginal Atrophy

What is Vaginal Atrophy?

Vaginal atrophy is the inflammation, dryness and thinning of vaginal walls which is the result of less estrogen in the body. After menopause the estrogen level in the body decreases so women tend to acquire this disease post menopause. Estrogen is produced by the ovaries and plays an important role in keeping the vaginal tissues lubricated and healthy. Young women who suffer from deficiency of estrogen also suffer from this problem. The vagina grows thin,dry and shrinks. It can also lead to irritation,  burning, discharge, and dyspareunia. The scientific name for vaginal atrophy is “genitourinary syndrome of menopause”.

Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy

The symptoms of vaginal atrophy varies from person to person. A woman may not experience all of these symptoms but in case she notices any of these in there vaginal area, she must not hesitate to visit the doctor.

  • Dryness and itchiness in the vaginal area
  • Discomfort during intercourse
  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Less lubrication during intercourse.
  • Loss of libido, that is, lack of interest in sexual activities.
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Frequent symptoms of urinary tract infections.
  • Shrinking of the vagina
  • Paleness in the vaginal area
  • Tightening or shortening of the vagina
  • Recurrent urination.
  • Burning in the vaginal area generally during urination.
  • Urinary incontinence, that is,  loss of control over the urinary bladder; small discharge of urine during sneezing or loss of complete control on urination

So carefully analyse if you have maximum number of these symptoms you need to show some concern to your vagina.

Causes of Vaginal Atrophy

Insufficient production of estrogen in the body is the main reason for vaginal atrophy. Here are the possible causes for the decrease in the level of estrogen in the body:

  • Menopause and perimenopause: Menopause is the time when as age related body changes lead to decreased production of estrogen by the ovaries. This may also occur during perimenopause(years before menopause) or premature menopause(when menopause occurs much before 40 years of age)
  • Surgical removal of the ovary in order stops the production of estrogen which can lead to vaginal atrophy.
  • Pelvic radiation therapy for cancer, chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer and hormonal treatment during breast cancer leads to a drastic fluctuation in estrogen level of the body.

These are some of the reasons behind vaginal atrophy.

Risk Factors

There are  certain factors that can lead to vaginal atrophy such as:

  • No Vaginal birth: Studies have shown that women who have never given birth from their vagina are more prone to vaginal atrophy than women who have given vaginal births.
  • No Sexual activity: Sexual activity increases blood flow and makes the vaginal tissues more elastic, so lack of any sexual activity can also cause vaginal dryness or itching.
  • Smoking: Smoke has an impact on the blood circulation, so it can lead to less flow of blood and oxygen in the vagina and smoking also affects the effect of natural estrogen occurring in the body.

Complications of Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy if not treated on time can lead to vaginal infections or urinary problems as the changes in the acid balance of the vagina can lead to infections and the urinary changes caused during vaginal atrophy may increase chances of incontinence or urinary tract infection.

Prevention of Vaginal Atrophy

In order to prevent vaginal atrophy you must focus on preventing it’s symptoms. Keep the vagina clean and use water-soluble vaginal lubricants to moisturize the vaginal tissues and prevent pain during intercourse.  Also,  doing regular sexual activity improves the blood circulation of the vagina and thus maintains the health of the vaginal tissues.

Treatment for Vaginal Atrophy

In case using vaginal moisturizers and water-based lubricants does not give the desired results you must meet your doctor as soon as possible and get the appropriate treatment. Here are some of the ways to treat vaginal atrophy:

  • Topical estrogen cream directly to the vagina gives quick relief without much exposure to the bloodstream.
  • Oral estrogen
  • Vaginal estrogen ring
  • Estrogen therapy
  • Vaginal dilators
  • Topical lidocaine as a gel to provide comfort during intercourse.

Home Remedies for Vaginal Atrophy

Well,  if you are not in a hurry to cure yourself by using the above mentioned treatments you can always rely on some natural or homemade remedies. They are effective and rarely have any side effects. Lifestyle changes can also help a great deal in curing vaginal atrophy.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Well on top of the table is to quit smoking. Smoking is one of the primary reasons to cause vaginal atrophy and can increase even severe problems such as osteoporosis so it’s better to quit.
  • Since no sexual activity causes this problem, being sexually active could simply help you out as it will improve blood circulation in the genital area.
  • Exercise is one of the basic things you need to do to avoid or cure vaginal atrophy as regular exercise helps in maintaining hormonal balance.
  • Drink water to keep yourself hydrated and maintain the level of moisture in the body.

Homemade or Natural Remedies for Vaginal Atrophy

  • Natural lubricants: Lubrication is one of the ways to treat vaginal atrophy. Jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera and vitamin E suppositories can help in lubrication of the genital area. Vitamin E suppositories stimulate the vaginal mucosa which lubricates the genital area.
  • Eat a diet that can help you to maintain the estrogen level in the body. Flax, soybean, nuts, soy milk, dry fruits, strawberries, etc are some of the food items you can include in your diet to improve estrogen level in the body.

However,  before you take any step,  it’s always advisable to consult a doctor first.

Conclusion

Many women neglect the symptoms and silently suffer from this problem. They are hesitant to speak about their genital problems,  but we need to understand that neglecting vaginal atrophy or any such disease can lead to severe conditions later on,  so it’s better to get the appropriate treatment and get rid of such problems. Hope this article was enough informative to make you aware about this problem.

Reference

https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/561934

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/vaginal-atrophy-atrophic-vaginitis-a-to-z

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!

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