Atrophic Vaginitis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Women over 40 years of age are at the risk of atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy.

What Is Atrophic Vaginitis

Atrophic vaginitis may be defined as thinning of vaginal walls due to the decreasing level of estrogen hormone. Mostly it affects women who have attained menopause.

What Is Atrophic Vaginitis

What Is Atrophic Vaginitis

What Causes Atrophic Vaginitis

The glands present in the vaginal wall secrets the mucus at different stages of menstruation. When the reproductive age of a woman ends,and ovulation ceases the endometrial lining is no more enough to be shed due to which there is no periods. She enters menopause, the level of estrogen decreases, and there are lots of changes in the female body such as the dry vagina, hot flashes and spotting after the sex. The female is now susceptible to infections,and as a result, there is vaginal atrophy.

There is also lactational atrophic vaginitis. It happens during the breastfeeding phase when there is an increased level of prolactin hormone which suppresses other hormones in the female body.
Females undergoing chemotherapy for cancer facea lot of side effects. The synthesis of estrogen hormone is affected that not only fertility is hampered but also lead to atrophic vaginitis.

In some women, ovaries are removed due to various causes such as endometriosis, ovarian cancer, tubo-ovarian cyst, non-cancerous ovarian tumor, ovarian torsion or to minimize the risk of breast cancer or cancer of ovaries. Removal of ovaries bring changes in the hormones,and as the ovulation hormones are effected, the vaginal wall and even the vaginais thinned.
Sometimes hormonal therapies such as birth control pills or artificial hormonal supplements affect the blood circulation to a female reproductive system and cause atrophic vaginitis.

If you do not have regular sex, you may suffer from vaginal atrophy and painful sex.

Who Are More At The Risk Of Atrophic Vaginitis

Smoking or drugs that limit the flow of blood increases the changes of vaginal atrophy. Also, females who have never delivered from the vagina and have undergone a C-section are at the risk of atrophic vaginitis.

What are the symptoms of Atrophic Vaginitis

Symptoms of atrophic vaginitis are spotting and dryness in the vagina. Also, there may be infection and itching while or after sex due to friction. Other physical strains may also be there.

Dryness of the vagina is the most prominent symptom of atrophic vaginitis. The vaginal wall becomes so thin that the glands are unable to produce enough mucus. In the lack of proper lubrication, sex is painful, and even insertion of the tampon may cause bleeding.

If you are trying to feel you may not feel that the vaginal wall is thin but bleeding during the sex and irregular periods are the signs. Thinning of vaginal walls also leads to the contraction the vaginal passage and effects intercourse. The vaginal wall becomes so delicate that female suffers from painful intercourse or dyspareunia. Even a slight force makes her bleed. Not only due to vaginal atrophy vagina may bleed after sex but at any time due to the thinning of walls.

Also, there is a loss of elasticity due to which vaginal walls become thin. The tissues that are supporting uterine walls are unable to withstand the pressure and loses strength and hampers sex life.
The dry vagina becomes susceptible to infections. The vagina flora is disturbed. The vaginal pH balance changes and chances of bacteria and vaginal infection increases. This leads to bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection and also increases the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections.

In some females the atrophic vaginitis causes the walls of vagina to swell and inflamed. The urinary opening closes,and there is urine incontinence. Unlike the cervical mucus during ovulation the vaginal atrophy discharge is stringy. The infection of vagina or UTI aggravates the swelling and inflammation of the vagina and makes urination painful. There also may be involuntary urination as a complication of atrophic vaginitis that causes constant wetness.

How Is Atrophic vaginitis Treated

Atrophic vaginitis treatment involves restoring the level of estrogen. This is done through supplements. Also, estrogen gel and creams are recommended. Use of moisturizers and neutral vaginal wash is advised to keep the vagina moist and prevent dryness.
Also, you need to take a few precautions such as regular sex, quit smoking, wear loose cotton under clothes and application of vitamin E oil to the vagina.

Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta
Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta:  Professionally a homeopathic doctor and a dietician Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta is passionate about writing health and parenting blogs. She believes in holistic approach towards health and well being.