What was once an enjoyable and fulfilling sex life with your partner has now become a painful chore. No matter the amount of foreplay, it’s as dry as the Sahara down there. Don’t be uncomfortable or believe for one second that there is something wrong with you. There isn’t. Nearly every menopausal woman experiences vaginal atrophy at some point in her life and Eagles Landing OB/GYN can help.
What Is Vaginal Atrophy?
Menopause occurs when a woman’s body stops producing estrogen. One consequence of low estrogen is dryness – everywhere. Your skin, hair and nails will become drier as will your vaginal walls. In addition to dryness, your vaginal walls also thin out and can become inflamed. It might feel as if you have a yeast or other vaginal infection but in reality, you might have vaginal atrophy.
Your vagina isn’t the only thing to suffer from reduced estrogen. Many women also experience urinary issues alongside vaginal ones. These issues include urinary tract infections, bladder leakage, bladder urgency and an inability to empty the bladder. When the urinary tract joins the vagina in making your life miserable, vaginal atrophy becomes Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause or GSM.
What Are the Symptoms of GSM?
Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse are the primary signs of GSM. Other symptoms include:
- Vaginal burning and discharge
- Itching in the genital area
- Burning, frequent and/or urgent urination
- Frequent UTIs
- Bleeding caused by intercourse
- A shorter and tighter vaginal canal
Don’t fret. There are treatments for GSM, or just vaginal atrophy if you are not experiencing any of the urinary tract symptoms, and these treatments are safe and can even enhance your sex life.
Vaginal Atrophy Treatments
There are over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers you can buy to help end the drought down there. You can apply these moisturizers every few days to restore and maintain a more natural vaginal balance. If you need extra help during sex, or if you only want moisture during sex, consider an OTC lubricant. Some enhance intercourse for a better sexual experience with your partner.
If OTC solutions don’t work or they stop working over time, it’s time to seek medical help. In most cases, topical estrogen can come to your rescue. The estrogen is prescribed in cream, suppository, ring or pill form, and all are inserted directly into the vagina. If you prefer oral medication, ospemifene is an option, and some women use a DHEA cream directly inserted in their vagina to increase moisture.
Hormone-free options include vaginal dilation and lidocaine, both of which we’d be happy to discuss with you. In fact, Eagles Landing OB/GYN in Stockbridge, GA, would be happy to discuss all the treatments discussed above, so please call us today at 770-474-1919 to set up an appointment.