It is a very common pathological condition yet still little known by menopausal women, who are affected in half of the cases. Here’s how to recognize the symptoms, what are the effects and possible treatments for Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy.
The medical information contained in this article has been approved by our staff of doctors and specialists
Medicine is clear: it is not one of the pathologies of menopause , but a real pathological condition that also has the uncomfortable characteristic of being progressive , or worsening over time if not properly treated and becoming chronic.
That is why, if you are close to menopause or are already in the full-blown phase, you should read this article carefully.
Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy or Vaginal Atrophy: Scientific Definition
According to the well-known gynecologist Alessandra Graziottin, who deals specifically with female problems related to menopause and married life , Vaginal Atrophy is “a pathological female condition that affects about one in two postmenopausal women and whose main symptoms are vaginal dryness and pain during sexual intercourse . It is still little known and underdiagnosed: 63% of women do not know that it is a chronic condition and over 50% of doctors do not talk about it with the patient “.
It is therefore a very present case history, a very widespread condition, but of which little is said also for the embarrassment and the typical female reluctance that emerges when it is necessary to put one’s intimate life, one’s sexual activity and the life of a woman on the plate. couple.
Symptoms of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy (AVV): first of all dryness and itching
A sensation of irritation, burning, constant itching that affects the intimate area and continues throughout the day and does not find relief. These are the main symptoms of AVV , which appear early in the disease.
Being a symptomatology common to many other frequent ailments – such as infections ( candida, cystitis ), irritations of various kinds (from the use of wrong detergents, as a consequence of a drug treatment, after particularly fiery intimate relationships, etc.) or even connected to certain types of viral infections such as herpes simplex – often mistaken for something else and therefore not treated properly .
In a simpler way: when an intimate itch appears , it is more immediate to think of a candida and start a therapy based on enzymes and douches, the same that has probably solved the problem dozens of times in life. It is rare that the first itch is thought to call the gynecologist .
The same goes for the feeling of vaginal dryness that many women experience after menopause but to which they attribute a normal issue, “an age-related change”. No. It may not be so.
The vagina is a mucous membrane and is a moist environment by definition . It is true that the drop in estrogen in menopause involves a physiological reduction of this condition of natural lubrication, but dryness must not become a problem for daily life , cause discomfort and difficulties in intimate relationships with the partner.
If this happens, the gynecologist must be contacted as soon as possible for the simple syllogism that “what is normal does not hurt”.
Other symptoms of vaginal atrophy: pain in intercourse (dyspareunia) and bright red discharge
After the first symptoms, milder and less recognizable, there is an alarm bell that must be carefully listened to and that could be an unmistakable signal that something is wrong: we are talking about dyspareunia , or pain in sexual intercourse , the most typical symptom of vaginal atrophy in menopause .
It is a painful sensation that occurs at the moment of intimate contact (superficial dyspareunia) or during intercourse (profound dyspareunia) and which involves difficulties in penetration, in completing the sexual act, in achieving pleasure.
In addition to pain, bright red discharge may appear (simultaneously or later). These are not losses like menstrual ones, but – if connected to the AVV – the bleeding of real micro-lesions and abrasions caused by the rubbing of vaginal walls that are too thin, fragile and dry (conditions that can characterize the vaginal walls in a woman in post menopause) . For this reason the leaks are of a bright color.
Effects of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy: stop intimate intercourse (but that’s not good!)
“67% of women with Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy avoid intimacy with their partner”, writes gynecologist Rossella Nappi in a scientific treatise. We are talking about more than half of women after 55 .
Intimacy with a partner is a very important moment in the life of a couple , which helps to keep the bond strong, which makes you happier and which – above all – keeps parts of the body trained that otherwise, in the long run, become less effective, less active.
This is the case of the female pelvic floor which is stressed during intimate activity and which, also thanks to it, maintains its functions of support and control of the sphincters and bladder, but not only. Good intimate activity improves blood pressure (lowering it), improves sleep quality , helps maintain weight control because calories are burned during sexual intercourse, strengthens muscles throughout the body and helps lower stress levels because the body naturally produces endorphins .
And you know how important these points are now that you are in menopause …
Treatment for vaginal atrophy begins with a visit to the gynecologist
Take heart and call your trusted gynecologist or another specialist, perhaps an expert in menopause problems . It is the best gift you can give to your mature life.
Vaginal Atrophy, in fact, tends to become chronic and for this reason it must be identified and controlled as soon as possible: an early diagnosis is the best ally of an effective solution to the problem.
Your gynecologist will be able to direct you towards paths tailored to your general condition and together you will be able to find the way that best suits your habits and has less impact on daily life. Today the solutions are different and some of them have proved very effective.
So overcome the embarrassment and take care of yourself : your intimate health is very important and the fact that you are in menopause does not mean that you can forget that you have a part of the body to take care of and to preserve.