What is Vaginal Atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy (also known as atrophic vaginitis) is a normal part of the ageing process for many women. As less oestrogen is produced and blood supply to the area is reduced, the vaginal walls become thinner and lose elasticity. The protective mucosa also begins to lose hydration, causing a loss of natural lubrication which can lead to discomfort and inflammation, especially during intercourse.
What are the symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy?
Common symptoms can include dryness, itching, burning, pain during sex, light bleeding after sex and lack of lubrication, and an increase in urinary tract infections.
Who is affected by Vaginal Atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy is caused by lack of oestrogen, so it occurs most commonly in the years following menopause, but it can also occur as a side effect to some radiation treatments. Up to 50% of post-menopausal women experience vaginal atrophy, but only 25% of them seek help.
Are there treatment options for vaginal atrophy?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can treat a range of menopausal symptoms, including vaginal atrophy. For women who are not candidates for HRT, there are vaginal moisturisers, lubricants and oestrogen creams that can provide some symptomatic relief.
There are also laser treatments available for vaginal atrophy, branded as ThermiVa, MonaLisa Touch or IntimaLase. These lasers stimulate collagen remodelling of the internal tissue and synthesis of new collagen fibres. Additional collagen fibres enable a greater holding ability of mucosa for a more lubricated internal environment, and thus, more comfort, especially during intercourse.
You can speak to one of our gynaecologists about your symptoms and various treatment options.