Yeah, what does vaginal atrophy means? The word“atrophy” is quite a scary word.
The dictionary defines it as “stagnant, wasting away, dried up, failure to grow due to lack of nutrition”. Definitely not a pretty description of our female genitalia. Wasting away, dried up, huh? It conjures images of our womanhood morphing into a sexual wasteland, right?
Vaginal atrophy is by definition the thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal wall.
An atrophic vagina does affect the quality of our overall health, sexual intimacy and self-confidence.
But by addressing the symptoms and understanding how to find relief with the right treatment and some lifestyle changes our “womanhood” can still be a fertile ground for physical pleasures for a long time yet. Yes, we can continue to enjoy intimacy and embrace life unhindered. So read on….
Low levels of estrogen are the number one cause of an atrophic vagina. For most women vaginal estrogen production drops during pre-menopause or at the start of menopause. But, changes in the vagina are so subtle that most of us will not be aware of the signs until 5 to 10 years after menopause.
Younger women who are breast feeding, on birth control pills and those who are on medication for endometriosis or fibroids also experience a dip in vaginal estrogen levels.
With moderate to severe vaginal atrophy, you might experience the following vaginal changes:-
1. Thinning of vagina walls
Our intimate area lose its plumpness and the once thick vagina walls becomes perceptibly thinner and smoother.
Along the vagina wall, there are ridges (rugae). As we age, these ridges aka folds and furrows flatten out. (Yes, this is the one place where wrinkles and creases are gladly welcome). The thinner tissues become delicate and easily inflamed and the vulva looks red instead of pink.
2. Vagina muscles lose their tone
The muscles become less elastic and pliable causing the vagina to shrink slightly making it shorter and narrower. In addition pubic hair is sparse at this stage of a woman’s life. As a result the external vaginal anatomy- urethra, clitoris and vaginal lips become more exposed.
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3. Dry vagina
Lubrication during sexual arousal is not as forth coming as when estrogen level was high. Therefore vaginal dryness is another natural consequence of vaginal atrophy.
Women who use this feminine gel regularly reported greater comfort and renewed enjoyment of sexual intercourse.
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4. Vaginal Infection
Decrease mucous secretion makes the vagina less acidic. Coupled with a more exposed vulva due to shrinkage it becomes an easy target for bacteria to grow. At this stage of our life, we are more susceptible to a form of vaginal infection known as atrophic viginitis.
Vagina dryness, shrinkage and thinned vagina walls are the main causes of painful sexual intercourse.
The best way to slow down the progress of these changes is to be sexually active either with your partner or through self pleasuring. So it is a matter of use it or lose it. Making love regularly will keep your vagina happy, healthy and pain free.
Sexual activity increases blood circulation, lubrication and improves vaginal muscle tone. A dry vagina will also benefit from the sex steroids, fatty acids and prostaglandins found in seminal fluids.
The pre-menopausal vagina can accommodate sexual activity in the unaroused state but seldom the case after menopause. Women and their partners need to know that changes in sexual routine are inevitable as both persons age.
Prolonging foreplay, change of sexual position and location, be more playful and paying attention to each others erogenous zones e.g. the clitoris which is still sensitive to sexual stimulation are some of the ways to trigger vaginal lubrication.
To heighten desire and make the vagina hungry for love making, I always recommend my clients the water-based vaginal gels and manjakani pills. With the help of these two products, they are no longer held back by vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy symptoms.
With the right stimulation that preludes sex and my arsenal of painful intercourse solutions, vaginal atrophy has not been a problem for me or my clients.
And do remember that a satisfying romp in the bedroom will spill over to a more happy relationship outside of the bedroom too.