Have you noticed the changes in your body as you go through the menopausal transition? One day you feel fine, the next day you’re sweating up a storm because of hot flashes. One night you sleep like a baby and the next night you’re pacing around, unable to settle down.
Some changes, however, often don’t show up as noticeably. Take your vagina, for instance. It turns out our declining hormone levels cause the walls of our vaginas to become thinner and less elastic. The lack of flexibility hampers the ability of blood to flow through the area and, thus, create moisture. The combination of thinner vaginal walls and less moisture can lead to difficulty with sex and likeliness for irritation, injury and infection. These issues also are linked to vaginitis (an inflammation of the vagina that can result in discharge, itching and pain) and urinary tract infection . This video offers a good overview of vaginal dryness:
Importance of lubrication
<p><strong>What Is Vaginitis?</strong></p>
<p>Vaginitis is a disorder of the vagina caused by infection or inflammation. It is often a result of infection by one of various microorganisms, but vaginitis may also be caused by irritation from soaps or medications, an allergic reaction, or hormonal changes. The three most common types of vaginitis are candidiasis (yeast infection), trichomoniasis (infection by a tiny, one-celled organism called a protozoan), and bacterial vaginosis. These three types account for more than 90% of all vaginitis seen in non-menopausal women. Menopausal women may get atrophic vaginitis associated with thinning of the walls of the vagina. This is due to estrogen deprivation.</p>
<p>Although irritating, vaginitis is not a serious health risk, and it typically subsides quickly with treatment. Recurrent or persistent cases may be associated with an underlying medical condition.</p>
Conversations surrounding menopause are healthy and necessary. Conversations with doctors will direct a need to thinking about the health of the vagina as a woman enters menopause and conversations with girlfriends can provide an outlet to lament about painful sex and other unpleasant changes.
Vaginal dryness is a common change that happens to women as they grow older. It is caused by the loss of estrogen that women experience as they enter menopause.
Why Is Estrogen Important?
“Estrogen…helps keep vaginal tissue healthy by maintaining a normal vaginal lubrication, tissue elasticity and acidity,” the Mayo Clinic reports. “These factors create a natural defense against vaginal and urinary tract infections.” But the potential issues with vaginal health don’t end with dryness. “Over time, vaginal dryness can turn into vaginal atrophy, which means that the vaginal walls become pale, thin, narrow and lose elasticity,” Dr...
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