How to Treat Vaginal Atrophy
Just as other muscles in your body age, vaginal muscles also feel the passage of time. As a result, you may experience what is known as vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis. This condition refers to a narrowing of the vaginal walls due to lack of natural lubrication, which usually occurs when women reach menopause. Women with this condition may experience vaginal dryness, itching and/or inflammation in the area. The reason for this physiological alteration is a decrease in estrogen, i.e. the hormone responsible for regulating most female processes, including lubrication of intimate areas.
In this article we at OneHowTo explain how to treat vaginal atrophy, with different methods to help you to feel better and enjoy a full and satisfying life.
The main cause of vaginal atrophy is reduction of the female hormone, estrogen, which, among many other things, is responsible for keeping the vagina lubricated naturally. This hormone may drop when a woman enters menopause. In fact, 50% of women in this stage of their lives tend to have this condition; however, other factors may also influence reduced estrogen, such as the following:
- Lactation can reduce the production of this hormone.
- Some medicines may also reduce the levels of estrogen (especially taken for breast cancer, myomas, etc.)
- Cancer Treatments also typically alter estrogen production
- Removal of the ovaries also affects hormone production.
Whatever the cause, symptoms of vaginal atrophy are always very similar for all women. These include vaginal dryness, less lubrication, burning in the intimate area, burning when urinating, and so on.
There are two ways of treating vaginal atrophy: Hormone therapy or therapy without hormones. Let's start with a natural way to treat this condition, which does not require the use of chemicals or hormones. It simply adds moisture to the walls of the vagina and thus relieves discomfort and pain that can be a result of this condition.
Vaginal moisturizers are one of the best ways to improve dryness and eliminate burning, pain during sex, and itching considerably. They are highly efficient products and are this recommended by many doctors for women going through this problem. The dosage should be prescribed by a professional to feel improvement as soon as possible.
Another non-hormonal therapy to treat vaginal atrophy is the use of lubricants. They are used, above all, to have pleasurable sex without discomfort during penetration. These products consist mainly of water and silicone so it can moisten the area and bring back enjoyment to sexual intercourse.
Avoid oil-based or silicone lubricants because they are not designed for the vagina. In addition, the latter may damage latex condoms and may increase the risk of infection. Always go for products designed specifically for the vagina.
If your vaginal atrophy presents more severe symptoms, non-hormonal treatment might not be sufficient. Hormone therapy with estrogen will help to restore internal balance and relieve symptoms effectively. This type of treatment should always be prescribed by a medical professional.
This method involves applying small doses of estrogen locally, i.e., in the vagina. It is recommended for those who suffer symptoms in the area of the vulva and vagina. They usually come in the form of rings, creams or tablets and must be prescribed by your GP.
In the event that the doctor thinks you have to follow a treatment systemically, you should first be aware that this can cause some side effects. This type of treatment is only indicated if the patient has very strong symptoms which cannot be alleviated with any of the above methods. This treatment can produce effects such as uterine bleeding, in addition to increasing the risk of stroke. Furthermore, it is totally contraindicated in persons who have or have had some form of cancer.
However there are some preventive methods that can help avoid vaginal atrophy and alleviate the symptoms outlined above. For this you must make some changes to your lifestyle, such as:
- A good personal hygiene: washing your vaginal area daily and avoiding moisture as much as possible
- Use lubricant when you have relationships to avoid damaging the vaginal walls
- Use cotton underwear and avoid tight clothing
- Drink 2 litres of water a day to keep your body in optimum condition
- Stop smoking: smoking decreases oestrogen production
- An active sex life helps produce vaginal discharge and therefore prevent dryness
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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