You'll probably start by discussing your symptoms with your primary care provider. If you aren't already seeing a doctor who specializes in women's health (gynecologist or internal medicine women's health specialist), your primary care provider may refer you to one.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
- Make a list of any signs and symptoms you're experiencing. Include those that may seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment.
- Make a note of key personal information. Include any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications and the doses. Include prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who goes with you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Prepare questions. Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together.
Some basic questions to ask include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have some other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Questions your doctor may ask
Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and assess your hormonal status. Questions your doctor may ask include:
April 23, 2013
- What vaginal symptoms are you experiencing?
- How long have you experienced these symptoms?
- Do you continue to have menstrual periods?
- How much distress do your symptoms cause you?
- Are you sexually active?
- Does the condition limit your sexual activity?
- Have you been treated for cancer?
- Do you use scented soap or bubble bath?
- Do you douche or use feminine hygiene spray?
- What medications, vitamins or other supplements do you take?
- Have you tried any over-the-counter moisturizers or lubricants?
- 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.