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How to Prevent Vaginal Atrophy After Menopause

How to Prevent Vaginal Atrophy After Menopause

It’s no secret that menopause marks a new phase of life. But for many women, the changes this new phase brings are far from pleasant. 

Vaginal atrophy is a condition characterized by thinner, dryer, and inflamed vaginal walls — and it affects at least half of women after menopause.

Vaginal dryness and discomfort can have a profound impact on your sexual health, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Understanding its symptoms, causes, and treatment options can help you maintain your vaginal health and overall well-being, and we’re here to support you.

Board-certified OB/GYN A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our team offer personalized care for women in Cranston, Providence, and Smithfield, Rhode Island. Here’s what you need to know about vaginal atrophy and what you can do about it.

Why vaginal atrophy occurs

Vaginal atrophy happens when your vaginal tissues get thinner, drier, and prone to irritation. Although it can strike any woman at any age, it’s particularly common after menopause, and the primary culprit is declining estrogen levels.

Estrogen plays a key role in maintaining vaginal health and tissue elasticity, as well as regulating vaginal moisture and acidity. When your estrogen levels decrease in menopause, your vaginal tissues often become thinner, less elastic, and more sensitive to inflammation.

Recognizing the symptoms of vaginal atrophy

Your sexual health is personal, and vaginal atrophy can manifest in a number of different ways. You might notice vaginal dryness, itching, or burning, especially during intercourse. Some women also experience pain with sex.

You might develop urinary symptoms, too, including increased frequency, urgency, or urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to changes in vaginal pH. Together, these symptoms can seriously affect your sexual satisfaction, your health, and your overall quality of life.

How to prevent (and manage) vaginal atrophy

Although vaginal atrophy is common post-menopause, there’s good news: You have treatment options. Taking a proactive approach to your sexual health gives you the opportunity to manage symptoms or even prevent them from developing in the first place.

If you’re worried about vaginal atrophy, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Dr. Coppa and our team are here to provide personalized recommendations and guidance based on your individual needs and medical history. Together, we can explore treatment options and develop a plan to optimize your vaginal health and sexual well-being.

We often start by promoting good overall health through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate hydration to support vaginal health and function. A few changes to your sexual habits can also make a big difference in your comfort level.

For example, incorporating vaginal moisturizers and lubricants into your routine can alleviate symptoms of dryness and discomfort. Moisturizers hydrate sensitive tissues, and lubricants provide immediate relief during sexual activity.

Practicing regular sexual activity, whether alone or with a partner, can also help maintain your vaginal health. Stimulation boosts blood flow to the area and promotes natural lubrication, so engaging in sexual activities can actually help combat vaginal dryness and discomfort.

Finally, one of the most effective strategies to prevent and manage vaginal atrophy is hormone replacement therapy. 

HRT involves taking estrogen or estrogen-based medication to restore vaginal moisture and elasticity. These treatments come in various forms, including vaginal creams, tablets, rings, and patches, so you can choose the option that best fits your needs.

Take control of your vaginal health and continue to enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying sex life with help from Dr. Coppa and our team. Schedule a consultation online or call one of our offices to learn more about your options.

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