Vaginal atrophy also called atrophic vaginitis is a condition where the lining of the vagina gets drier and thinner. This results in itching, burning and pain during sex, among other symptoms. The condition also includes urinary tract problems such as urinary tract infections UTIs and frequent urination. This new term helps describe not just the vaginal, but also the urinary symptoms that can be accompanied by the effects of low 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.
When I went for my annual gynecological exam, my doctor said I had vaginal thinning and prescribed Premarin 0. My question: Are there other health concerns associated with vaginal thinning or should I not worry about it unless it affects my ability to have pleasurable sex? This article has been archived. We will no longer be updating it. For our most up-to-date information, please visit our menopause hub here. I have been sexually inactive for about a year now, but prior to that I had no problem achieving one or more orgasms.
The most common symptoms of vaginal atrophy are dryness, irritation, and pain during intercourse. Although menopause is the most common cause, vaginal atrophy can result from anything that lowers estrogen production. That includes chemotherapy, radiation, removal of the ovaries during hysterectomy, and use of anti-estrogenic therapies such as aromatase inhibitors, tamoxifen Nolvadex , and drugs like leuprolide Lupron and nafarelin Synarel , which are used to treat fibroids and endometriosis. Unlike hot flashes, which usually subside with time, vaginal atrophy is likely to persist and become worse without treatment. Loss of estrogen decreases blood flow to the vagina, causing vaginal tissue to become thinner, drier, and less elastic.
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis, or vaginal atrophy, is the thinning of the walls of the vagina caused by decreased estrogen levels. This most commonly occurs after menopause.