Install our app to know more about your body. Track over 30 different symptoms and activities — stay healthy every day! Menopause happens when the ovaries no longer release an egg on a monthly basis and the menstrual cycle totally stops. Some of the physiological changes during menopause include:. Before attaining menopause, the vagina is well supplied with the hormone called estrogen which keeps it lubricated and maintains its elasticity. There is no change in the vaginal walls and lining.
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skin conditions on vagina | Women's Health
The most common symptoms of vaginal atrophy are dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse. Although menopause is the most common cause, vaginal atrophy can result from anything that lowers estrogen production. That includes chemotherapy, radiation, removal of the ovaries during hysterectomy, and use of anti-estrogenic therapies such as aromatase inhibitors, tamoxifen Nolvadex , and drugs like leuprolide Lupron and nafarelin Synarel , which are used to treat fibroids and endometriosis. Unlike hot flashes, which usually subside with time, vaginal atrophy is likely to persist and become worse without treatment. Loss of estrogen decreases blood flow to the vagina, causing vaginal tissue to become thinner, drier, and less elastic. The top layer of the epithelium the cells lining the vagina may be entirely lost, leaving the layer below vulnerable to inflammation, infection, or trauma when it's exposed to any pressure, including sexual activity, a Pap smear, or the insertion of a speculum. The vaginal environment becomes less acidic, reducing the number of beneficial flora lactobacilli and encouraging the growth of organisms that cause vaginal and urinary tract infections.
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Up to 40 percent of postmenopausal women have symptoms of atrophic vaginitis. Because the condition is attributable to estrogen deficiency, it may occur in pre-menopausal women who take antiestrogenic medications or who have medical or surgical conditions that result in decreased levels of estrogen. The thinned endometrium and increased vaginal pH level induced by estrogen deficiency predispose the vagina and urinary tract to infection and mechanical weakness. The earliest symptoms are decreased vaginal lubrication, followed by other vaginal and urinary symptoms that may be exacerbated by superimposed infection.
The dryness occurs as a result of hormonal changes that are a natural part of menopause and can cause discomfort and pain, particularly during sexual intercourse. While there are a number of treatments available on the market, most contain hormones or chemicals that can be irritating to your delicate tissues. Vaginal dryness is one of the most common symptoms of menopause and its onset can be fairly sudden at any stage of the menopause. Menopausal vaginal dryness mainly affects women between years although it can happen at any time for reasons other than menopause.