Atrophic vaginitis (also known as vaginal atrophy or urogenital atrophy) is an inflammation of the vagina (and the outer urinary tract) due to the thinning and shrinking of the tissues, as well as decreased lubrication. These symptoms are due to a lack of the reproductive hormone estrogen.Many women notice changes in their vagina and genital area after the menopause. These changes may include dryness and discomfort during sex.
The widespread use of exogenous (produced outside the body) estrogen began in the mid-60's (oh those drug-crazed years). By 1975, Premarin, a form of estrogen made from pregnant mare's urine (hence Pre-Mar-In), became one of the top five most prescribed drugs in the US. In December 1975, two studies were published which reported that women taking estrogen had a 5 to 14 times increased rate of endometrial cancer. Three years exposure to unopposed estrogen caused abnormal endometrial changes in 34% of women with a uterus.
Estrogen replacement restores normal pH levels and thickens and revascularizes the epithelium.Moisturizers and lubricants may be used in conjunction with estrogen replacement therapy or as alternative treatments. It has been shown to encourage vaginal elasticity and pliability, and the lubricative response to sexual stimulation.Vaginal atrophy need not be an inevitable consequence of menopause or other events that result in long-term estrogen loss.