Aging has its advantages and disadvantages. You’ve learned a lot over the years, and you’re confident in who you are and what you want. On the other hand, your body can’t always keep up, especially post-menopause. The physical effects of aging and menopause symptoms can be hard to handle, and one of the worst effects many post-menopausal women experience is vaginal atrophy. Fortunately, there are solutions at L.A. Quinn M.D. here in Jax Beach! Continue reading to learn more about this painful condition and the treatment options offered by Dr. Quinn, and call today to schedule your consultation!
What is Vaginal Atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy, also known as atrophic vaginitis or genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), is a condition that covers a variety of painful symptoms. It describes the thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls, as well as the shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal. While not often talked about it, it’s a common condition among older women. Medical professionals estimate that approximately half of postmenopausal women experience vaginal atrophy.
Symptoms to Watch For
There are a number of uncomfortable and painful side effects associated with vaginal atrophy. If you experience any combination of the following symptoms, we recommend turning to a health professional for an official diagnosis.
- Vaginal dryness, burning, or itching
- Unusual discharge or bleeding
- Painful urination
- The need to urinate more frequently
- Decreased vaginal lubrication
- Painful intercourse
- Frequent urinary tract infections
Vaginal atrophy has been clearly linked to a reduction in estrogen, which is why it is so common in postmenopausal women. You may also experience these symptoms during perimenopause, a period of months or years leading up to menopause. A drop in estrogen and post-menopause symptoms may also be associated with hormonal or radiation therapy, such as treatment for breast cancer.
If you aren’t experiencing vaginal atrophy and you want to lower your risk in the future, there are a few preventative steps you can take. Aside from low estrogen, other risk factors associated with atrophy include smoking and little or no sexual activity. Smoking reduces blood circulation and the chemicals involved can interfere with estrogen levels. You should quit smoking as soon as possible if you want to avoid those side effects. Increased sexual activity – with or without a partner – can also help you prevent vaginal atrophy, as it increases blood flow and can help maintain elasticity in the vaginal walls.
Vaginal atrophy and its symptoms and side effects are a sensitive topic. It can be embarrassing to talk about, and so many women resign themselves to discomfort or pain rather than addressing these issues with their doctor. It’s important to understand, however, that vaginal atrophy will not reverse itself. There is little to no chance that these symptoms will go away while your estrogen levels remain low.
If you can find the courage to talk to your doctor or health professional about your symptoms, there are several treatment options available. Specially formulated moisturizers and lubricants are often the first line of defense. Hormone replacement therapy can also help by restoring the estrogen levels in your body, and there are many different forms of HRT that you can explore. If you want a more targeted approach, try a MonaLisa Touch treatment from L.A. Quinn M.D.
Try MonaLisa Touch Today!
MonaLisa Touch is a non-hormonal, non-surgical treatment for vaginal atrophy. Using a fractional CO2 laser, this innovative therapy can stimulate tissue regeneration, normalize pH levels, and promote elasticity and blood flow. Unlike options like lubricants, the MonaLisa Touch procedure directly targets the causes of vaginal atrophy rather than simply treating the symptoms.
Each treatment with MonaLisa Touch only requires five minutes, and there is no downtime. We recommend a series of three treatments to start, along with follow-up appointments to help maintain the positive effects. It is a great option both in conjunction with hormone replacement therapy and as an alternative for women who can’t turn to hormonal treatments.
The symptoms of vaginal atrophy, from painful sex to frequent UTIs, can derail your life, but MonaLisa Touch can offer relief. Explore our blog to learn more and call L.A. Quinn M.D. to make your appointment today! We look forward to helping you get your life back.