Throughout the cycle of life, our bodies evolve, and our vaginas are no exception.
Life events like having children, aging, and menopause each bring their own changes — some more painful than others. You might find yourself feeling especially dry and more uncomfortable than seems reasonable. What gives?
You might have genitourinary symptoms of menopause
After a woman goes through a life event like menopause, for instance, she may encounter itching, decreased secretions during sexual activity, and pain with intercourse — these are just a few examples of the genitourinary symptoms of menopause. Attributed to a decrease in estrogen, the vaginal tissue thins and dries out. It becomes less elastic, more fragile, and more easily injured.
Other symptoms of genitourinary symptoms of menopause include:
- Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal burning (inflammation)
- Spotting after intercourse
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Urinary incontinence
Is this fixable?
The good news? Yes! The first step is to tell your medical provider about your symptoms. There are a variety of prescription medications to help alleviate these symptoms as well, including vaginal estrogen. In addition to some at-home remedies that may provide temporary relief, your provider may suggest vaginal laser treatments. One such option is the MonaLisa Touch, a non-hormonal, chemical-free, and well-studied laser that increases blood flow and regenerates vaginal tissue and has been widely accepted by female pelvic health experts worldwide. The same-day outpatient appointment typically requires no anesthesia, and in most cases takes only five minutes! Most patients resume their normal routines within a few days of the procedure.
Keeping your vagina, well, an oasis
While laser treatments help if you’re already experiencing vaginal atrophy, an annual gynecological exam is the first step to maintaining your vaginal health as you age. Chronic itching, discharge, odor, and bleeding are all symptoms that should be reported to a gynecologist. It helps to keep a log of changes you’re encountering, not only in your genital health but your overall health as well. It can be nerve wracking or embarrassing to talk openly about this intimate problem, but don’t suffer in silence! Your gynecologist is there to listen, is an expert on your anatomy, and truly wants to help.
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