When Should I See My Healthcare Provider For Vaginal Atrophy
Even if youre not menopausal, be sure to report any symptoms of dryness, pain, burning/itching, urinary problems, UTIs, unusual spotting or bleeding or discharge to your healthcare provider. If weeks go by and the over-the-counter medications youre using for dryness dont work, you should see your healthcare provider then. If you see unusual discharge or bleeding, thats also a reason to see your healthcare provider. Also, always see your healthcare provider for any symptoms that negatively impact your daily life.
‘not An Automatic Thing’
Atrophic vaginitis occurs to a certain degree in all women as they age and their estrogen declines. Even women taking hormone replacement therapy are not immune because it is not always enough estrogen to keep things functioning normally.
And fortunately, not everyone will have the most troubling symptoms, which can have a major impact on quality of life, especially sex life.
“It’s not an automatic thing,” says Susan Love, MD, who specializes in women’s health and is the author of many books on the topic, including Dr. Susan Love’s Hormone Book. “In studies, only about 10%-20% of all women will get vaginal dryness . There are gradations.”
Knowing What’s Right For You
Of the myriad therapies available, choosing the one product or combination of products that’s right for you has to do with how severe your symptoms are as well as what you are comfortable using.
“If you are having more and more difficulty or pain with intercourse and are postmenopausal or have had a hysterectomy,” says Love, “you’re better off going hormonal because it’s going to work faster.”
Kaunitz says many women don’t have complete relief unless they combine a prescription product with an over-the-counter lubricant.
Remember, some of these products may not be right for you, especially if you have had breast cancer. Your doctor can tell you which are safe to try and which to steer clear of.
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What Is Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal atrophy most often occurs during menopause, the change of life. This happens because of a decrease in the hormone estrogen. It can occur in younger women, as well, when their estrogen levels are affected.
Hormones are produced, stored and secreted by the endocrine system, a network of glands and organs. Women need the hormone estrogen for good health, especially during the child-bearing years. When menopause happens around age 50, the ovaries produce fewer hormones and the woman stops having a monthly period. There are many uncomfortable symptoms for women during that time, and that includes vaginal dryness and other symptoms that might indicate vaginal atrophy.
S To Stop Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness can be one symptom of a prevalent but little-known condition called vaginal atrophy. Also called the genitourinary syndrome of menopause, vaginal atrophy occurs in up to 50 percent of perimenopausal or menopausal women. Thats over 24 million women in the U.S. alone. Add to that another couple of million women affected by the Pill. Vaginal atrophy is also associated with painful sex.
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What Can Be Done To Relieve Vaginal Dryness And Atrophy
First Stop: Gynecologist
If youre like many women, you may be embarrassed to approach a doctor about vaginal dryness or vaginal anything, for that matter. But this is the best place to start to rule out any serious medical issues. In fact, vaginal atrophy can worsen over time, so the sooner you speak to your gynecologist about treatment, the better.
Here are three tips to ease the situation when approaching your physician about vaginal dryness, pain during sexual intercourse, or other related symptoms.
Gynecologists are very familiar with vaginal ailments and there to help you relieve your symptoms. So rest assured, they will not be embarrassed by whatever you ask.
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Dong Quai For Treating Symptoms Of The Menopause
Dong quai is another herbal remedy for the menopause which could help treat vaginal dryness and other menopause symptoms.
Scientific studies have shown that dong quai could help to increase levels of estrogen and improve vaginal health in the menopause. One study showed that administering dong quai extracts increased estrogen levels in vaginal tissue.
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Whats The Difference Between Vaginal Atrophy And A Yeast Infection
Both vaginal atrophy and yeast infections can have symptoms of dryness, itching, redness and pain. However, vaginal atrophy is caused by a lack of estrogen while a vaginal yeast infection is caused by a fungal infection. Consult with your healthcare provider regarding symptoms so that you, together, can determine what condition you have.
Discussing It With Your Doctor
But how do you talk to your doctor about such a sensitive matter? Don’t be daunted if your doc asks you about every symptom of menopause but this one.
“Not all physicians are going to broach the topic, and women can play a very proactive role by bringing it up themselves,” says Kaunitz. “I think in general, women will find that ob/gyns are going to be more comfortable with this topic than family physicians or internists, although that is not universally true. If women bring up sexuality or genital-related concerns and don’t find the physician is knowledgeable or comfortable, they may want to look elsewhere.”
“Women need to realize this is not their fault, and they are entitled to have pain-free sexual activity if they want,” says Love. “Sometimes, the doctor is embarrassed. You need to feel you’re braver than they are and bring it up in a very matter-of-fact way.”
It helps to remember that many, many women suffer from this condition, says Brown. She also recommends that “women keep a journal and write down exactly what it is they’re feeling and figure out a way to produce an opening . I said, ‘I have another major problem we need to solve.'”
“No matter what we are dealing with, we should not feel shame because we have a particular issue,” says Brown, who now hosts motivational and self-esteem seminars with her husband. “All women need to feel good enough about themselves to believe that they in mid-life are worthy of continuing to have a good sex life.”
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How To Use Vaginal And Vulvar Moisturizers
- You can also use vaginal moisturizers on your vulvar tissues, including your inner and outer labia . To put these moisturizers on your vulva, put a small amount of moisturizer on your finger. Then, massage the moisturizer into your vaginal opening and onto your labia.
- If you recently finished cancer treatment, or are going through sudden menopause, you may need to use the moisturizers 3 to 5 times a week to relieve your symptoms.
- Vaginal and vulvar moisturizers should be used before you go to bed, so the product can be fully absorbed.
If you also use vaginal estrogen, dont use it on the same nights you use these moisturizers. For more information about vaginal estrogen, read the Vaginal Estrogen section below.
If you wear panty liners or pads while youre using these moisturizers or for urinary incontinence , you may want to use a skin protectant cream such as Aquaphor®, Balmex®, or Desitin®. Panty liners and pads can make your vulva dry. Before using the panty liner or pad, put the skin protectant cream on your vulva to help seal in moisture and protect your skin.
Supplementing Your Vaginal Health
Nutritional supplements, such as vitamin E, may also help to reduce vaginal dryness. It works by boosting the supply of blood to the vaginal walls. The suggested dose is 50400 IU per day. Vitamin D also reduces vaginal dryness and balanced vaginal pH. The suggested dose is 600 IU daily.
Vaginal dryness is a common problem which affects 50% of women during menopause. Although many women feel it is an embarrassing question, it is one that should be addressed. There are several solutions which can treat vaginal dryness very effectively.
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Adding Red Clover To Your Diet
Reduced estrogen levels in menopausal women can cause decreased libido, vaginal dryness, and painful sexual intercourse. There is another natural remedy for vaginal dryness that can increase estrogen levels. Red clover is a herb that belongs to the legumes family of plants.
The herb is known to be rich in isoflavones, known to be beneficial for female hormone levels. These phytoestrogens are plant molecules with a similar structure to estrogen. They can mimic natural estrogen in the body to help our bodies regain the hormone balance.
Adding red clovers to your diet can help you increase your estrogen levels and reduce symptoms of vaginal atrophy and irritation.
Other Natural Remedies For Female Lubrication
Want other ways to keep things au naturel in the name of lubrication? These natural remedies may help your vag go from the Sahara Desert to the Pacific Ocean:
- Avoid *certain* products. Soaps and feminine hygiene products with fragrances and dyes can dry out your vag. Your hoo-ha is self-cleaning, and soaps can eff with all the good bacteria. Oh, and skip the too.
- Dont skimp on foreplay. Taking the time to get the blood flowing and boost arousal can help with moisture production.
- Stay hydrated.Alcohol can cause dehydration, which means less fluid for lubrication. If you regularly hit happy hour, make sure to also drink plenty of H2O.
- Nosh on phytoestrogens. These estrogen-like compounds found in plant foods like soy, tofu, nuts, and yams *might* help get your levels back on track to get things flowing.
- Check your birth control. If youre on hormonal BC like the pill, it may be the reason for your dry downstairs. Check with your doctor to see if switching to a nonhormonal option might help.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Vaginal Atrophy
Symptoms of vaginal atrophy can include:
- Have you tried over-the-counter lubricants or moisturizers?
- Have you noticed any discharge?
- Have you been bleeding or spotting?
- How long have you noticed these symptoms?
Experts have observed that vaginal atrophy may be underdiagnosed. Mention it to your healthcare provider if you think your symptoms may match vaginal atrophy.
What Causes Vaginal Dryness
People of all age groups can experience vaginal dryness, but it is more common in those who are menopausal. Other causes of vaginal dryness include:
- Hormone fluctuations due to menstrual cycles, childbirth, and breast-feeding
- Certain autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Dietary imbalances
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, it should be dealt with as soon as possible, Sadaty says. Seek out medical support if dryness is persistent or painful.
“If you allow dryness and vaginal thinning to go on long enough, sometimes it’s harder to fix it,” Sadaty says. “At some point, it’s difficult to restore the anatomy.”
Here are some natural ways to combat vaginal dryness and increase lubrication:
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Should Vitamin E Be Used To Treat Vaginal Dryness
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What Are The Symptoms Of Vaginal Dryness
The symptoms of vaginal dryness can vary, and a woman may not feel them all at the same time.
The most common symptoms include:
- Dryness, stinging, burning, or itching in the vaginal area
- Loss of libido or sexual interest
- Discomfort during intercourse
- Lubrication is reduced during intercourse
- Bleeding following intercourse
- Urinary tract infections
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Hyaluronic Acid Is A Kind Of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of Hyaluronic acid is a transparent, sticky substance that the body produces naturally.
The main function of Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of hyaluronic acid is to retain water to ensure your skin and surrounding tissues are moist and well lubricated.
One 2016 study compared the effectiveness of a Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of hyaluronic acid vaginal cream versus conjugated estrogen for the treatment of vaginal atrophy.
The study found that both Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of hyaluronic acid and conjugated estrogen can improve the symptoms of vaginal atrophy.
However, Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of hyaluronic acid was more effective and is a better treatment option for women who do not want to or cannot receive hormone therapy.
A 2021 systematic review of the literature also found that Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of hyaluronic acid has efficacy similar to vaginal estrogens for the treatment of vaginal atrophy.
Researchers suggested that the use of Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of hyaluronic acid is an attractive alternative for women who cannot or choose not to use hormonal treatment.
Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of Except for individuals who are allergic to it, hyaluronic acid is harmless for most people. Before using any supplements, always with your doctor.
Hyaluronic Acid is a kind of Hyaluronic acid may assist enhance lubrication by retaining moisture in the vaginal region.
Tips For Using A Vaginal Moisturizer
Another tip: Because of the potential for the product to leak out, some women like to wear a panty liner when using a vaginal moisturizer. These can sometimes be irritating, so using a skin protectant cream can help protect your skin and let the moisturizer do its job, recommends Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
If youre using vaginal estrogen as well, its best not to use it the same day as you use your moisturizer, according to MSKCC. Talk with your doctor about the best way to use your moisturizer in conjunction with other medications.
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Adding Flaxseeds To Your Diet
Flaxseeds are derived from a plant known for its health benefits. It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans. The chemical structure of the plant lignan compound is similar to the estradiol hormone. These compounds can have an estrogenic effect.
Lignans are phytoestrogens that can bind to estrogen receptors in our body to increase the production of compounds that regulate natural estrogen levels. Several studies have observed the beneficial effects of flaxseeds on vaginal atrophy in menopausal women.
A study found that flaxseed showed beneficial effects on hot flash frequency and intensity. It also showed estrogenic effects, showing promising signs of its effectiveness in addressing menopausal symptoms, including vaginal atrophy.
Red Clover Supplements For Vaginal Dryness And Other Menopausal Symptoms
One of the popular home remedies for curing feminine dryness is to take red clover menopause supplements.
One study found that taking 80 mg of red clover daily helped to significantly improve symptoms associated with vaginal dryness. Red clover also helped improve other menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.
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Vitamin E: Effective For Vaginal Dryness The Research
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. It helps to prevent oxide/peroxide damage to cell membranes. Vitamin E also helps to stabilize estrogen levels and has been studied for the treatment of a variety of menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, irritability, and of course, vaginal dryness.4
A study from Italy in 2008 looked at a suppository containing hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin A for its ability to reduce symptoms related to vaginal dryness.5 The subjects used one suppository per day for 14 days. For the next two weeks, they used one suppository every other day. The results were that the symptoms due to vaginal dryness had resolved by 50% at the end of the first week. The symptoms were completely resolved by the end of the study. There were no adverse effects of the treatment. A weakness of this trial was that it was not randomized, blinded, or controlled. The reason the study design did not include placebo was that materials used for a placebo suppository could confound the results by causing changes in pH and local epithelial alterations. The suppository in this study clearly contained more than vitamin E, so it is hard to say what role vitamin E played, but the results are promising.
This article is meant to be educational. Please consult your doctor for medical advice on how to manage the genitourinary symptoms of menopause.
Natural Remedies For Vaginal Dryness
Are you suffering from vaginal dryness? Vaginal atrophy is one of the most significant complaints made by women going through menopause. It is second only to hot flushes.
Vaginal dryness is a distressing condition that can result in pain and itchiness for women going through it. The considerable discomfort caused by vaginal atrophy can become highly problematic and even lead to a stop in any intimacy within a relationship.
When women go through menopause, they experience several changes in their bodies, including tissue changes. The vaginal mucous membranes start becoming thinner, and the vaginal walls can lose their elasticity. These changes occur due to reduced estrogen and androgen levels brought about by menopause.
Many women can experience significant discomfort due to these changes, including soreness, itchiness, burning sensations, pain, and even bleeding during intercourse. Cystitis is also a condition they can face due to persistent vaginal dryness. If you want relief from vaginal atrophy, there are several lubricants that you can purchase. Additionally, there are a few effective natural remedies for vaginal dryness that can help ease the symptoms.
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