Understanding Common Triggers of Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal atrophy sometimes referred to as atrophic vaginitis, is characterized by the inflammation of the vaginal walls. The tissues become drier and thinner than usual, which can lead to painful sexual intercourse. In turn, this complication can lead to loss of libido. Like other forms of sexual dysfunction, this condition is treatable by a urologist.
Vaginal atrophy is associated with declining levels of estrogen in the female body. At certain stages of life, estrogen production naturally declines. When a woman reaches menopause, estrogen production is quite minimal. In the years leading up to menopause, known as perimenopause, estrogen production generally declines. However, it usually does so in an irregular and sporadic fashion. The result is that the vaginal walls are no longer as elastic.
While the evidence is not necessarily conclusive, it is thought that women who have never given birth vaginally may be more likely to develop vaginal atrophy compared to women who have experienced vaginal births. It is also possible to develop vaginal atrophy due to breastfeeding. Lactation-induced vaginal atrophy is typically accompanied by reduced libido and painful intercourse. Unfortunately, it’s commonly misdiagnosed or left untreated because it’s easy to mistake lactation-induced vaginal atrophy for the other typical changes that are characteristic of the postpartum period, such as sleeplessness and stress.
Sometimes, medical interventions are to blame for vaginal atrophy. Although cancer treatment can save lives, it may also sometimes cause vaginal atrophy. Women with cancerous tumors that are sensitive to hormone levels may experience a decline in estrogen due to cancer treatments. Estrogen levels may also decline because of radiation therapy directed at the pelvic area, surgical removal of the ovaries, and chemotherapy.
Urology Associates P.C. is your source for sexual dysfunction solutions in Tennessee. We treat every patient with the sensitivity, compassion, and confidentiality she deserves. If you have concerns about your sexual health, give us a call today at 888-656-0667 to speak with a friendly staff member.