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4 Signs of Vaginal Atrophy

If you’ve noticed uncomfortable changes in your vagina as the years pass, you’re far from alone. Up to three in five postmenopausal women report experiencing persistent vaginal dryness, which is a primary sign of vaginal atrophy. While some people chalk it up to “normal” aging, this inflammatory condition isn’t something you need to live with.

At The Well for Health, our team, located in Davidson, North Carolina, is pleased to offer a range of treatments for vaginal atrophy that can help restore sensitive tissues in the area to bring you comfort and ease. Read on to learn about four common signs to look out for. 

Why vaginal atrophy happens

Vaginal atrophy typically happens when your estrogen levels drop near menopause. In addition to playing a key role in pregnancy and menstruation, estrogen helps keep the tissues in your vagina elastic and lubricated. So when your body produces less estrogen, your vaginal tissues can become more delicate, dry, and thin.

While these symptoms normally accompany mid-life and menopausal changes, you can also experience estrogen decline while breastfeeding, taking certain birth control pills, or having a hysterectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy. In these cases, you could experience vaginal atrophy or some of its symptoms earlier.

Signs of vaginal atrophy

Vaginal atrophy affects people differently, but there are numerous common, shared symptoms. Four of the most common include:

Vaginal dryness and irritation

Vaginal dryness affects most people who develop vaginal atrophy. And similar to chapped lips and dry eyes, missing lubrication can cause quite a bit of irritation. You might notice a burning or itching sensation from the dryness that worsens as time goes on. In some cases, dryness leads to cracks in the skin and bleeding.

Vaginal discharge

While the vaginal tissue itself may become increasingly dry with atrophy, you might notice new fluids in the form of discharge. The discharge tends to be watery, thin, and gray. Because discharge can also indicate other conditions, our team may suggest tests for an infection or diabetes. 

Sexual discomfort

When vaginal tissues are dry and painful, it can make intercourse uncomfortable or downright unbearable. For some people, the friction of penetrative sex causes light tearing or bleeding. As a result of these issues, you may find that your interest in sex goes down as your vaginal atrophy symptoms carry on. 

Urinary problems

Hormonal changes involved with vaginal atrophy can also impact your bladder health. Many people find themselves more prone to urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leaking of urine or sudden urges to urinate. These issues are also linked with recurrent urinary tract infections.

Vaginal atrophy treatment 

At The Well for Health, your provider will recommend an ideal treatment for vaginal atrophy, based on factors such as the severity of your symptoms and your overall health. 

Your treatment plan may include:

To learn more about vaginal atrophy or get the care you need, call 704-799-5433 or request an appointment through our website.

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