You start to make the transition through menopause and you’re happy to endure the hot flashes and night sweats in exchange for a period-free and pregnancy-free sex life. Unfortunately, changes in your vaginal health have other plans.
Called vaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis, the condition affects between 40% and 57% of postmenopausal women. Unfortunately, the one area where vaginal atrophy can have the biggest impact is on your sex life.
To shed some light on these unwelcome postmenopausal changes, Dr. Gary Willen and the team here at Tahoe Women’s Care are going to focus on vaginal atrophy here. Before you dive in, we want you to know that there are solutions. Read on to learn more.
Vaginal changes after menopause
Your transition through menopause starts when your ovaries begin to shut down. This shutdown casts a much wider net than not releasing any more eggs, as your ovaries are the primary producers of your estrogen hormones.
The precipitous drop in your reproductive hormones that comes with menopause can lead to many symptoms, all of which we group under genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). One of the most common issues of GSM is a decline in vaginal health due to the lack of estrogen, which can lead to sexual dysfunction.
During your reproductive years, your estrogen hormones ensured that your vaginal tissues were strong, supple, and well-lubricated to ease intercourse and delivery. Without these hormones, your vaginal tissues can become thin and dry.
Vaginal dryness alone affects more than half of postmenopausal women between the ages of 51 and 60. As you can imagine, this lack of lubrication can make intercourse uncomfortable.
As if vaginal dryness isn’t enough, vaginal atrophy can also lead to thinner vaginal tissues that become inflamed more easily. As well, your vaginal canal can shorten, which can make penetration more difficult.
Restoring your sex life
While men may have their little blue pill for when age catches up to their sexual health, women have options, too.
First, we can try hormone replacement therapy that increases your estrogen level. You can opt for systemic hormone replacement topical therapy that delivers the hormones directly into your vaginal tissues.
We also offer an advanced vaginal rejuvenation technology called MonaLisa Touch®. With this laser system, we deliver noninvasive energy into your vaginal tissues to spur a collagen response that helps strengthen and lubricate your tissues.
These approaches to vaginal atrophy are certainly effective, but it’s also helpful if you adopt a, “Use it or lose it,” approach. The more you engage in sexual activity, the more your body will send in resources to help keep these tissues healthy.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to give up your sex life because of vaginal atrophy. To learn more about your treatment options, please contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, to set up an appointment.