Menopause FAQs: Vaginal Atrophy is some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about menopause vaginal atrophy, vulvovaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness and the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).

Vaginal Atrophy

What is vaginal atrophy?

Depending on the Source the definition of vaginal atrophy may vary. On page one in Vaginal Dryness the North American Menopause Society’s (NAMS) definition is:

“Bothersome symptoms of the vagina and vulva (outer lips of the vagina) increase during and after the menopause transition or may start several years after menopause. The decrease in estrogen with menopause is a major contributor to vaginal dryness, itching, burning, discomfort, and pain during intercourse or other sexual activity. Vaginal atrophy is the medical term that describes these changes. The genitourinary syndrome of menopause includes bothersome vaginal atrophy often combined with urinary symptoms”.

Common or Not

How common is vaginal atrophy?

In Vulvovaginal Symptoms After Menopause – Symptoms the Australasian Menopause Society note:

  • “The changes, which may cause dryness, irritation, itching and pain with intercourse are known as the genito-urinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and can affect up to 50% of postmenopausal women”.

Signs and Symptoms

What may be signs and symptoms of vaginal atrophy?

In Vaginal Atrophy: Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms the (United States) Mayo Clinic explain:

Menopause FAQs: Vaginal Atrophy

“Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) signs and symptoms may include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal burning
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Genital itching
  • Burning with urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Discomfort with intercourse
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity
  • Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal”.

Painful Sex

Is there an association between vaginal atrophy and painful sex?

In Sex & Relationships: Management & Treatment of Sexual Problems At Menopause – Painful Sex the (Australasian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health explain:

“Because a dry vagina makes sex painful, even thinking about sex can make you anxious, and then you can start to fear sex. This can set up a negative ‘pain cycle’ where you fear sex, avoid sex, get frustrated and anxious, and then sex is likely to hurt more. If this is happening, treat the physical symptoms first to reduce the pain, and then the fear of pain during sex may also decrease”.

Treat or Not

Does vaginal atrophy go away on its own?

Menopause FAQs: Vaginal AtrophyOn page five in the International Menopause Society’s (IMS) patient information leaflet Sexual Wellbeing After Menopause: Physical Wellbeing – Treatments Available published for World Menopause Day: World Menopause Day 2018, in multiply languages, the IMS note:

“It is important to seek advice, because without some form of treatment, symptoms are unlikely to diminish or go away on their own. Addressing your sexual difficulties and striving for positive sexual wellbeing can enhance the quality of your relationship, improve your psychological wellbeing and enhances your overall quality of life”.

Treatment Options

What treatment options may be available for vaginal atrophy?

On pages one and two in Vaginal Dryness: Treatment Options the NAMS elaborate on:

Menopause FAQs: Vaginal Atrophy

“The good news is that effective treatment options, such as nonhormone remedies or different forms of low-dose estrogen applied to the vagina are available. These can be combined for optimal symptom relief.

  • “Nonhormone Remedies…
    • Vaginal Lubricants…
    • Vaginal Moisturizers…
    • Regular Sexual Stimulation…
    • Expanding Your Views of Sexual Pleasure…
    • Vaginal Dilators…
    • Pelvic Floor Exercises…
  • Vaginal Estrogen Therapy…
    • An Effective and Safe Treatment…
    • Government-Approved Low-Dose Vaginal Estrogen Products…
    • Standard Doses of Estrogen Therapy…
  • Other Prescription Therapies
    • Ospemifene
    • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)…”.

Menopause FAQs

Where may I find more Menopause FAQs?

Menopause FAQs: Vaginal AtrophyIn Menopause FAQs: Expert Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Menopause you may find Menopause FAQS: Menopause Symptoms where the NAMS explain:

“Women going through the menopause transition often experience one or more menopause-related symptoms. You want to make sure that your symptoms are normally caused by menopause or may be signs of something else, such as a thyroid disorder, depression, a side effect of medication, or just normal aging. Get the straight story on your symptoms from our expert advisors and put your mind at ease”.

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Last Updated: 03 June 2020 – Last Revised: 20 May 2019
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