You might not have noticed this but many people still treat the subject of menopause as taboo. Sometimes, even just the word ‘vagina’ in the title of an article prevents them from reading that article.
The question now is, “Where should a woman go if she needs help about the changes in her body she’s experiencing during menopause?”
Many women still do not know what to expect once they enter menopause. Some openly announce that they experience hot flushes, disturbed sleeping patterns, night sweats, etc., but most women still do not openly discuss vaginal changes.
Here is a short list of vaginal changes a woman may experience during menopause:
*Vaginal burning sensation while urinating
*Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
*Spotting of blood after sexual intercourse
*Frequent urinary tract infection
Why are These Changes Occurring?
Atrophic vaginitis is the term that should be used for these occurrences. As with other menopause symptoms, atrophic vaginitis is caused by decreased estrogen levels.
It commonly occurs after menopause but a small percentage of women will also suffer from atrophic vaginitis during perimenopause or during menopause.
What Happens in Atrophic Vaginitis?
The symptoms are caused by the thinning of the vaginal lining as well as a reduction in blood flow to the vagina. When the levels of estrogen drop in a menopausal woman, the thickness of the vaginal wall drops from as many as 30 cells deep to 10 cells deep, thus causing the thinning of the vaginal wall. The vaginal tissue then thins, dries out and becomes less elastic, more fragile and more susceptible to injury.
In addition, the acidity of the vagina also decreases, allowing more pathogenic bacteria to grow. This makes the woman prone to urinary tract infections and develops a greater chance of having chronic vaginal infections.
In terms of blood flow, there is also a reduction in blood flow to the vagina thus the vagina becomes less able to distend. This is what makes sexual intercourse uncomfortable or painful.
The sphincter muscle also becomes weak and this causes ‘dribbling’.
Who is at Risk?
Women who have not given birth vaginally are more prone as opposed to those who have delivered vaginally.
Women who smoke also tend to be at risk as smoking impairs blood circulation. They are more prone to vaginal atrophy and other conditions associated with tissue oxygenation. Smoking is also known for reducing the effects of naturally-occurring estrogens in the body.
If you are having problems with your vaginal health, it is best to setup an appointment with Dr. Fay Weisberg of FemRenew today. Visit our website for more information.