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.
More than half (52%) of respondents in the Women's Voices in the Menopause study described one or more negative effects of VA; these included effects on their sex lives (40%) and feeling old (32%). Women who participated in the VIVA (Vaginal Health: Insights, Views, and Attitudes) study said that vaginal discomfort would complicate their relationship with a partner (39%), affect a loving relationship with a partner (32%), and affect feelings of attractiveness (21%). In a UK-based survey, 42% of women with vaginal discomfort reported making excuses to avoid intercourse and 60% thought it had affected their confidence.
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.