Menopause happens to all women of a certain age. As you exit your childbearing years, you will go through hormonal changes that will cause some changes to your body. The most noticeable sign of menopause is the cessation of menstruation. However, many women experience additional symptoms, such as hot flashes. You may also experience vaginal atrophy during menopause.
Vaginal atrophy is often accompanied by uncomfortable dryness. This condition can diminish your sex drive and even cause pain during sexual intercourse. Fortunately, a gynecologist can treat vaginal atrophy. Here are four vaginal atrophy treatments offered by OBGYN doctors:
1. Patient Education
Learning about your condition is an important part of your treatment. Vaginal atrophy can be alarming if you don't know what's happening to your body and why. A gynecologist can explain the changes happening to your reproductive system. They may suggest lifestyle changes that will help you stay comfortable. For instance, some women find that engaging in non-penetrative solo or partnered sex relieves some of the symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy. Your doctor can guide you through menopause, giving you advice to help you maintain your sex life if that is important to you.
2. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises can help you restore muscle tone in your vagina. These exercises are things you can do yourself, in the privacy of your own home. Your gynecologist will teach you how to do pelvic floor exercises, which usually involve clenching and holding internal muscles for several seconds. When you perform pelvic floor exercises as directed several times a day, you should see improvement in your vaginal atrophy symptoms.
3. Artificial Lubricants
When the skin inside your vagina thins, it usually also dries out. Your vagina is made of a special type of skin called mucous membrane, which is supposed to be damp at all times. Treating vaginal dryness is an important part of your overall recovery. An OBGYN can prescribe artificial lubricants for vaginal application. Regular use of lubricants can relieve pain.
4. Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy is an effective way to treat the symptoms caused by menopause, including vaginal atrophy. Hormone therapy can be administered orally in pill form or through injections. Hormone therapy increases the amount of estrogen in your body to make up for your body's decreased hormone production. Women who take estrogen often find that their vaginal elasticity increases. This treatment often offers results within a few weeks of your first dose.
If you have vaginal atrophy, visit a doctor to discuss your options.