Vaginal atrophy, also called atrophic vaginitis, is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to your body having less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause, but it can also develop during breast-feeding or at any other time your body's estrogen production declines.
For many women, vaginal atrophy makes intercourse painful — and if intercourse hurts, your interest in sex will naturally decrease. In addition, healthy genital function is closely connected with healthy urinary system function.
Simple, effective treatments for vaginal atrophy are available. Reduced estrogen levels result in changes to your body, but it doesn't mean you have to live with the discomfort of vaginal atrophy.
April 23, 2013
- AskMayoExpert. What causes urogenital atrophy? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Bachmann G, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of vaginal atrophy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 10, 2013.
- Bachmann G, et al. Treatment of vaginal atrophy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 10, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the symptoms of urogenital atrophy? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Pickar JH. Emerging therapies for postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. Maturitas. In press. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the treatment options for managing vaginal symptoms of urogenital atrophy in women with a history of breast cancer? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2012;19:257.
- Menopause and menopause treatments. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov. Accessed March 8, 2013.
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-0-323-06986-1&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-06986-1..C2009-0-48752-X--TOP. Accessed March 10, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. Are any tests available that can confirm or suggest vulvovaginal atrophy? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Leach MJ, et al. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007244.pub2/abstract. Accessed March 11, 2013.
- Casper RF, et al. Menopausal hot flashes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2013.
- Summary of Roundtable Meeting on Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/news/events/druginteraction?nav=gsa. March 21, 2013.
- Tan O, et al. Management of vulvovaginal atrophy-related sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women: An up-to-date review. Menopause. 2012;19:109.
- Simon JA, et al. One-year long-term safety extension study of ospemifene for the treatment of vulvar and vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women with a uterus. Menopause. 2013;20:1.