Women's Health
Menopause
After the menopause many women experience changes to their vagina and genital area; this change is known as Atrophic Vaginitis. The symptoms may include dryness, discomfort during sex and urinary symptoms. These can usually be eased with treatment. Treatment options include: hormone replacement therapy (HRT), oestrogen cream or pessaries, and lubricating gels.

What Symptoms May Occur?
The changes described above may occur, but without causing any symptoms or discomfort. However, some of the following symptoms may develop in some women. Atrophic vaginitis is a common (and usually treatable) cause of the following problems. However, these problems can also be caused by other medical conditions.
  • Pain when you have sex. This may occur because the vagina is smaller, drier, and less likely to become lubricated during sex than before the menopause. Also, the skin around the vagina is more easily made sore, and this can make the problem worse.
  • Discomfort - if the vulva or vagina is sore and inflamed.
  • Vaginal discharge. A white or yellow discharge may occur. Sometimes this is due to an infection because the vagina is less resistant to infection after the menopause. Infection is more likely if the vaginal discharge is smelly and unpleasant.
  • Itch. The skin around the vagina is more sensitive and more likely to itch. This can make you prone to scratch, which then makes the skin more likely to itch, and so on. This is called an 'itch/scratch cycle' which can become difficult to break, and can be distressing.
  • Urinary problems. Atrophic vaginitis may be a contributing factor to various urinary problems. This is due to thinning and weakening of the tissues around the neck of the bladder, or around the urethra (opening for urine). For example, urinary symptoms that may occur include an urgency to get to the toilet and recurring urinary infections.

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