Vaginal Atrophy

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Vaginal atrophy also called “atrophic vaginitis”, “vulvar atrophy”, “labia atrophy” “vulvovaginal atrophy”, is said to occur when the walls of the vagina start getting thin, dry, and inflamed, which is a result of low estrogen in the body, hence leading to burning sensation when urinating, itching, painful sex, and urinary tract infections.  This condition is […] Read More

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Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal atrophy also called “atrophic vaginitis”, “vulvar atrophy”, “labia atrophy” “vulvovaginal atrophy”, is said to occur when the walls of the vagina start getting thin, dry, and inflamed, which is a result of low estrogen in the body, hence leading to burning sensation when urinating, itching, painful sex, and urinary tract infections.  This condition is more prevalent in women undergoing menopause as the body’s estrogen level drops drastically during menopause and is often referred to as “postmenopausal atrophic vaginitis”.  In recent times, it has been replaced with the term “Genitourinary syndrome” of menopause since this condition could cause both vaginal and urinary symptoms. Young women also stand the risk of being affected if their estrogen level is affected. RISK FACTORS  The risk factors of vaginal atrophy include:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Taking medications that contain anti-estrogen properties
  • Removal of the ovaries through surgery or oophorectomy
  • Chemotherapy affects the functioning of the ovaries
  • Smoking
  • Postpartumoss of estrogen
  • Immune disorders
  • Lack of sexual intercourse
  • Lack of having vaginal births increases your chances of having vaginal atrophy
DIAGNOSIS OF VAGINAL ATROPHY During your period of examination, you will be asked certain questions by your doctor which include:
  • Are you in menopause?
  • What medications are you on?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you breastfeeding?
  • Do you experience painful intercourse during sex?
  • Are you having a yellowish discharge?
  • Do you feel a burning sensation while urinating?
  • Do you feel the urge to urinate frequently?
This and many more questions will be asked by your doctor to aid in diagnosing accurately your condition. You might also need to undergo some examinations and testing at the laboratory. Such examinations include:
  1. The pelvic examination involves your pelvic organs including your vagina, cervix, and external genitals. 
During the examination, the doctor may look for the following sign, which are:
  • A shorten or narrow vagina
  • Dryness and inflammation of the vagina
  • Elasticity loss of the skin of the vagina
  • Whitish discoloration of the vaginal
  • The sparsity of pubic hair
  • A sagging bladder and urethral lesion.
  1. Examination of medical history
  2. Laboratory tests such as urine tests, serum hormone testing, etc.
  3. Vaginal pH testing in which a sample of your vaginal fluid is used to ascertain the ph level of your vaginal.
VAGINAL ATROPHY TREATMENT Atrophic vaginitis treatment involves the use of:
  1. Vaginal Lubricants and Moisturizers. This aids reduce the dryness of the vaginal walls and increase comfort during sexual intercourse. When choosing a good lubricant, try going for a product that does not contain glycerin as it might irritate the vaginal wall. Although moisturizers are often preferred as they tend to last longer than lubricants.
  • The Use of Topical Estrogen
This is also called “vaginal estrogen” as it is applied directly into the vaginal. They are effective since it is directly on the vaginal and hence provide better relief of symptoms.  They come in different forms, which include
  • Vaginal estrogen creams are applied mostly before bedtime. It could be used daily for one to three weeks.
  • Another type of vaginal estrogen is vaginal estrogen suppositories. They are inserted about 2inches into the vaginal canal. Initially, they could be inserted daily for three weeks, after then, they are inserted only twice a week.
  • Vaginal estrogen rings are another form of vaginal estrogen which functions to release a consistent dose of estrogen into the vagina. It is a soft, flexible ring inserted into the upper region of the vaginal canal and it is replaced after every three months.
  • Use of vaginal estrogen tablets which are also placed inside the vagina with the help of a disposable applicator. Normally used daily for two weeks and twice a week after.
The Use of Vaginal Dilators This is used to stimulate and open the vaginal canal to reduce the narrowing of the vagina. The Use of Systemic Estrogen Therapy Here, the estrogen administered is not directly placed at the vaginal but into systemic blood circulation. It could be oral administration. Although it is not advisable for breast cancer patients. COMPLICATIONS OF VAGINAL ATROPHY The problems that arise from valvuloplasty atrophy are often related to the reproductive area of the patient. Complications of vaginal atrophy may include:
  • Increased risk of having vaginal infections due to the changes in the ph level of the vaginal and the dryness of the vaginal promotes yeast infection.
  • Increase in urinary problems and may experience leakage during urination.
  • Risk of infertility
PREVENTION OF VAGINAL ATROPHY The prevention of vulvar atrophy include:
  • Avoiding drug with antiestrogen properties
  • Regular or increase sexual activity which helps in keeping blood flow to the vagina, hence keeping the vaginal tissues healthy
  • Regular exercises such as pelvic floor exercises and good healthy feeding 
  • Avoid using  soaps, powders, and perfume on the vulvar, wearing sanitary  pads for long period, they may irritate the vagina
  • Avoid smoking



The signs and symptoms of vaginal atrophy are usually accompanied by some symptoms of urinary tract infection, they include

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Burning sensation at the vaginal
  • Yellow discharge by the vaginal
  • Itching of the vaginal
  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Burning or pains during urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infection
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Painful intercourse
  • Reduced vaginal lubrication
  • Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal.
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Blood in urine or hematuria
  • Vulvar itching.



The main cause of vaginal atrophy is the decrease in estrogen level or absence of estrogen as this hormone helps the lining of the vaginal wall in maintaining its elasticity and buoyancy. 

It also aids in the maintenance of the acid balance of the vagina. Hence without it, the walls of the vagina become thin, narrow, and dry. Also affecting its ability to stretch.


How does vulvar atrophy look like?

The part of the vaginal called labia minora starts becoming smaller and the vulvar and vaginal mucosa becomes more dry and pale. Sometimes it becomes inflamed and the cervix becomes less elastic.

Does vaginal atrophy go away on its own?

The symptoms do not go away if left untreated and might cause serious urinary complications and discomfort if left untreated and also give serious discomfort during intercourse.

What is the best vaginal atrophy cream?

They include vagifem, Premarin, farming, etc but they must be used according to the doctor's prescription.

How to treat vaginal atrophy naturally with home remedies?

They are certain to change lifestyle and dieting that could help improve vaginal atrophy. Such include increasing water intake to help keep you hydrated, regular exercise, using some natural lubricants such as coconut oil, aloe vera. There has been no proven evidence of any fruit or meal that improves it but a healthy meal will supply your body with the needed hormone.

How long will it take for estrogen creams to help?

Normally, it could take three to four weeks depending on the treatment method you employ and how severe your condition is. Your doctor will guide you on its application and dosage.