Atrophic vaginitis means that the walls of the vagina are thinning because of decreased estrogen levels. Atrophic vaginitis commonly occurs after menopause. Women with atrophic vaginitis have a greater risk of chronic vaginal infections and urinary function problems.
A decline in estrogen causes atrophic vaginitis. Because of that vaginal tissue becomes thinner, drier, more fragile, and can be easily injured. You get a higher pH which alters the bacterial flora in the vagina and reduces the number of lactobacilli. The lower estrogen levels also affect the mucous membranes of the urinary bladder and the urethra, which means an increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and menstrual periods stop. A woman can be called postmenopausal when she has not had a period for 12 months or longer. After menopause, around 40 percent of women experience symptoms of atrophic vaginitis.
Common symptoms of atrophic vaginitis include:
- thinning of the vaginal walls
- tightening of the vaginal canal
- vaginal dryness
- vaginal burning
- pain during intercourse
- urinary tract infections
- pain during urination
- urinary incontinence
Dryness and burning are not always indicating atrophic vaginitis. It can be vaginal candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis, both of which cause an imbalance of the bacterial flora of vagina. Disorders of the genital area may also be caused by eczema or sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydiosis or mycoplasmosis.
Prevention and Protection
Wearing cotton underwear improves air circulation and can stop bacterial growth. A woman with atrophic vaginitis can experience pain during sexual intercourse. Sexual activity stimulates blood circulation and natural moisture. You can also use vitamin E and vitamin D to stimulate natural moisture and reduce symptoms of menopause.
Atrophic vaginitis usually affects women after menopause and is usually easy to treat – there is no reason to avoid problems that can be alleviated. After consultation with a doctor, you may be prescribed estrogen therapy to manage atrophic vaginitis.
If you have problems only with vaginal dryness, it is usually enough to be treated only with hormone ointment or a hormone-secreting ring.
If your problems are connected with menopause and the whole body is affected, there may be reason to apply hormones via patches or tablets – which can also treat rashes, sweating and other transitional problems associated with menopause.
When to consult a doctor
If you think you have atrophic vaginitis, you should contact a doctor to get the right treatment. In case of repeated urinary tract infections, you should also get medical help.
How APPOTEK can help
In the case of atrophic vaginitis, you can contact us at APPOTEK. A doctor can make an individual assessment based on your symptoms during the care meeting. You can then be prescribed medicines or referred for further treatment.