AVV is a pathology from which about 50% of menopausal and postmenopausal women suffer. Here are all the information and the answers to your doubts.
Our team of experienced menopausal doctors contributed to the writing of this article
In this post we will talk about:
- What is Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
- What are the symptoms of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy and how it occurs
- What are the consequences of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
- How to cure Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy?
- 10 things to do if you think you have Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
What is Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy, also known as Vaginal Atrophy or Atrophic Vaginitis or simply indicated by the acronym AVV , is a progressive pathological condition that can affect menopausal and postmenopausal women .
It is a thinning (atrophy) of the vaginal and vulvar walls which for this reason undergo flaking, irritation, micro-lesions , often causing pain in contact with underwear or intimate intercourse ( dyspareunia ).
What are the symptoms of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy and how it occurs
Vulvo-vaginal atrophy initially manifests itself with a series of non-specific discomfort: intimate itching, burning, sensation of intimate dryness.
Precisely due to the fact that these symptoms are not indicators of a specific pathology but are rather common disorders in women’s lives (as a symptom of infections, contact irritation or simply stress), they are often ignored .
However, Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy is a progressive condition that can worsen if not treated properly.
The (more specific) disorders that can occur as the disease progresses are:
- · Frequent infections
- · bleeding
- · Pain in the sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- · Difficulty in managing long walks or exercise because of pain or discomfort
- · Severe itching and dryness
- · Discomfort even when rubbing with linen or a towel after intimate hygiene
What are the consequences of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
Generally the consequences are related to a daily difficulty , milder or more severe depending on the stage of the disease.
Itching and discomfort, recurrent infections and a sense of vaginal dryness are symptoms, but at the same time consequences of the disease that can make it difficult to manage daily life. Do-it-yourself remedies and friend’s advice are usually of little effect.
To effectively solve these problems, a precise diagnosis is required that only a gynecologist experienced in menopause can make .
The intimate life of a couple can and should continue even after menopause . It is a sign of well-being, it nourishes the harmony and the pleasure of being together, it makes you happy and beyond that it helps to fully maintain the functionality of the female genital system .
However, Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy could be an important deterrent to complete intimate intercourse due primarily to coital pain , known as dyspareunia, and a series of psycho-physical difficulties: shame due to dryness , often confused by the partner with a lack of of desire, the discomfort for the losses , the pain that limits the pleasure and that often results in a refusal by the woman to sexual intercourse.
In the long run, this closure to intimacy with the partner, although painful, could result in a crisis.
Playing sports, going out for a walk with a friend, sitting for a few hours, maybe at your office desk. These are very normal daily activities that could undergo a forced stop with the progress of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy .
These changes, especially if related to menopause and therefore understood as “inevitable consequences”, can lead to a feeling of defeat , malaise , depressed mood . Obviously this reaction is stronger the more acute the discomfort and the more innate is the character tendency to throw down and not react.
A trend that, in predisposed subjects, could lead to depression .
How to cure Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy?
Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy is a pathology and must be addressed as such. The first thing to do is, therefore, consult your gynecologist or, if you want a second opinion, to an experienced gynecologist at menopause in your area.
Depending on the opinion of the specialist, it may be necessary to undergo some control tests and only after that a therapeutic path can be developed that is appropriate to your person and to the progress of Vaginal Atrophy .
Keep in mind that, as with dental caries, trying to relieve pain with an analgesic does not solve the problem, so for Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy trying palliative therapies of the symptom is not the same as solving the problem.
10 things to do if you think you have Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
If you think you are affected by this problem here is what you need to do ASAP:
- Do not neglect the small intimate ailments you feel: the pain is not normal, neither is the dryness. If you have any discomfort, talk to an expert in menopause overcoming the initial embarrassment: a good doctor knows how to understand his patient .
- In the same way you must know how to listen to what the doctor tells you : ask if you don’t understand, ask for clarification if you seem to have not understood.
- Even after menopause, it is important to continue to have an active intimate life as a couple. If there’s anything stopping you from experiencing love as usual, don’t drop it as a normal consequence of menopause. It is not so.
- If you have continuous infections, avoid worsening the situation with too aggressive intimate hygieneor with douching. Instead, try to make an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible and choose a gentle cleanser that respects your pH.
- Menopausal discharge , of any size and color, is a clear sign that you need a gynecological check-up. It could be the exfoliation of the vaginal epithelium, an initial phase of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy: it is possible to stop the VAV before the irritation turns into real lesions.
- Avoid tight pants or synthetic underwear . Try to choose more comfortable clothes that do not tighten the crotch and belly and natural fabrics that let the genital area breathe.
- If you have itching, avoid symptomatic remedies as much as possible and above all avoid scratching: it is a relief as temporary as it is useless and harmful because you could cause an even more annoying irritation.
- Talk about your intimate problems with your partner : They probably don’t even imagine what you are feeling and going through and – not knowing – they may misinterpret your reactions. The best way to resolve an embarrassing problem is to try to adequately discuss it with loved ones.
- If the consequences ofVulvo Vaginal Atrophy cause you aparticularly important psychological discomfort , increasing irritability, depressive tendency, anxiety, which are already typical in premenopause, you can ask for the help of a psychotherapist who can, in a few meetings, direct you to a more proactive look at your discomfort.
- Last but not least: make an appointment with your gynecologist or an experienced menopause specialist who you can also choose from this list .