What is vaginal atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis, is drying, thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls. This condition results from a loss of estrogen and is quite common among menopausal women. For many women, vaginal atrophy can lead to painful intercourse and urinary symptoms. Given the interconnected nature of the urinary and vaginal symptoms of this condition, medical experts often refer this condition as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of vaginal atrophy include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal burning
- Genital itching
- Urinary incontinence
- Increased urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Burning with urination
- Light bleeding after intercourse
- Painful intercourse
- Decreased vaginal lubrication during sex
- Tightening and shortening of the vaginal canal
Many women suffer from these symptoms, but very few seek treatment. It can be embarrassing to talk about this with your doctor, but there are treatments that can significantly relieve your symptoms.
What are the causes?
GSM is caused by a decrease in estrogen. With less estrogen in the body, the vaginal tissues become drier, thinner, more fragile and less elastic. Estrogen levels may decrease:
- Before, during and after menopause
- After surgical removal of both ovaries
- As a side effect of breast cancer hormonal treatments
- After pelvic radiation therapy
- After chemotherapy
Schedule treatments in the South Bay
At South Bay Urology in Torrance, we use local vaginal estrogen replacement or the MonaLisa Touch laser for treatment of vaginal atrophy/GSM. MonaLisa Touch uses gentle CO2 laser energy to invigorate the soft tissues in the vagina. This is an in-office procedure that comes with no downtime and minimal side effects. The procedure takes less than 5 minutes to complete and one treatment can improve dryness, itching, burning and intercourse. To find out if MonaLisa Touch can help you, schedule a consultation today. You can request an appointment online or reach us by phone at (310) 542-0199.