Aging: What Happens to the Vagina and Vulva

Beautiful senior woman holding a pink flower.

No matter what the age of a woman is, the vagina (and its surrounding areas) go through different changes – from puberty, to childbirth, and even as a woman gets older, especially after menopause. These changes, however, are not discussed often so some women are left uninformed and unprepared until such time they experience the changes for themselves.

 

That should not be the case, however. As women, it is important that we are aware about what exactly happens – how the vagina transforms and adjusts as it matures as well as how to keep it healthy.

 

Pubic Hair

The most noticeable change in the vaginal area is the thinning, greying, and loss of pubic hair. Though some women do not lose their pubic hair entirely, there would still be a noticeable amount of hair loss in that area. Other parts of the body such as the scalp, legs and underarms may have hair thinning, too, especially after menopause. The downside, however, is that some women gain hair in places do not usually grow hair – such as on the face.

 

The Vulva

The vulva and vagina, though they are closely connected, are two different things. The vagina is the canal, and the vulva is the outside part. When women talk about their vagina, what they usually mean is their vulva, the lips, the labia majora, the labia minora, the clitoris, and even the urethra. The vulva remains unchanged from your late teens to your 40s, and sometimes even into your 50s. At some point, however, women can experience Vulvovaginal Atrophy (VVA) resulting from the gradual loss of estrogen that comes with perimenopause and menopause. The tissue can also become paler and smoother, the labia can become less distinct, and the vulva will eventually lose its fullness.

 

The Vagina

VVA affects the vagina as much as it affects the vulva. According to medical experts, the loss of estrogen can result in dramatic changes in the function and appearance of the vagina. The vaginal opening as well as the length of the vagina can both shrink, resulting to irritation. The irritation occurs because as the vaginal walls become thinner, they also lose elasticity and moisture. Women who experience this will have complaints of burning and itching sensations. With intercourse, the sensations become more pronounced and might feel really painful. Intercourse might be the main instigator of itchiness, but some women feel it even when they’re walking or exercising.

 

If you are experiencing these problems, it is strongly recommended to talk to a medical professional about it. Dr. Fay Weisberg can help you deal with these concerns. Setup an appointment with her today!