Women are considered menopausal when they have one year without a period. The average age of menopause is 51. Postmenopausal women have lower estrogen levels than premenopausal women. Decreased estrogen levels lead to significant symptoms in some women, including hot flashes, vaginal atrophy, irritability and sleep disturbances. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include itching, decreased secretions during sexual activity and pain with intercourse.
The good news is that there are several options to treat the vaginal symptoms associated with menopause.
These products can be purchased at any drug store and should be used on a daily basis, similar to how women moisturize their skin. Some women have great relief with regular use of vaginal moisturizers.
Many women will need to consistently use lubricants during intercourse. There are several products that can be purchased at the drug store or online. Coconut oil can be used as a lubricant as well.
Nonhormonal vaginal suppository (Intrarosa)
This is a steroid-based medication that is similar to our body’s naturally produced Dehydroepiandrosterone, (DHEA). The pill is placed vaginally once a day.
Estrogen Receptor Modulator (Osphena)
This is a daily pill that interacts with the estrogen receptors in our bodies. It is used specifically to improve vaginal dryness due to vaginal atrophy, and may improve pain associated with intercourse.
There are a variety of formulations of vaginal estrogen available. Vaginal estrogen is extremely well tolerated and significantly improves symptoms of vaginal atrophy. Vaginal estrogen does not increase a woman’s risk of stroke or blood clots.
Fractionated CO2 Laser (MonaLisa Touch)
This is a relatively painless office-based procedure that uses a fractionated laser to cause microscopic changes to vaginal and vulvar tissue. These changes promote an increase in blood flow and tissue regeneration to reestablish vaginal health similar to a premenopausal state.
One or many of these options may be the right treatment for you! Please schedule an appointment to discuss these options in greater detail and to review any contraindications you may have to any of the medications.