Vaginal Atrophy –A Taboo Topic or a Needed Discussion?
VAGINAL ATROPHY–What is it?
Vaginal Atrophy is a chronic condition of menopause (meaning if untreated it will continue and may get worse) that affects the vagina and surrounding tissues. Declining estrogen levels are the cause.
What are some of the symptoms you COULD experience from Vaginal Atrophy?
- Vaginal dryness and/or irritation
- Vaginal itching and/or soreness
- Pain and Bleeding during intercourse
- Painful Urination
The Vaginal Atrophy Taboo
Vaginal Atrophy is a TABOO topic (like Erectile dysfuntion used to be for men) for many women, one they won’t even discuss with their health professional. Don’t you think women should feel comfortable talking about and getting treatment for such a life limiting condition?
Some Vaginal Atrophy FACTS:
- Only 25% of women will seek help for Vaginal Dryness (often treating it themselves) but 75% of Menopausal Women experience this symptom of Vaginal Atrophy
- 70% of Women say their health professional has only rarely or never raised the topic of Vaginal Discomfort with them
- Women don’t talk about Vaginal Discomfort with their health professional because they feel it’s a condition of “getting older” and nothing can be done anyway.
Vaginal Atrophy is Treatable
As of the DATE of this article:
- The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recommends that the lowest effective dose of estrogen consistent with treatment goals, benefits and risks for the individual woman should be the therapeutic goal.
- NAMS also states that while progestogen is not typically indicated for use with local estrogen therapy, an appropriate dose of progestogen should be added to systemic therapy to counter the adverse effects of systemic estrogen therapy on the uterus.
- The choice of treatment should be ultimately guided by clinical experience and patient preference,and women should talk to their healthcare professional to learn what is right for them
Vaginal Atrophy Treatment Options
Discuss these options with your healthcare professional. Don’t suffer in silence and have your body hurt and your sex life suffer. As we aren’t medical doctors, we won’t be detailing all the options available. However, it should be noted that over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers may provide temporary relief but do not treat the underlying condition.
Prescription solutions that should be discussed thoroughly with your healthcare provider include:
- Local estrogen therapy: administered locally inside or around the vagina
o Vaginal tablet
o Vaginal ring
o Vaginal cream
- Systemic hormone therapy:with or without progesterone administered orally or parenterally
- o Pills
- o Intramuscular injections
- o Transdermal patches
The North American Menopause Society. The role of local vaginal estrogen for treatment of vaginal atrophy
in postmenopausal women: 2007 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause.
2007; 14(3): 357–369.
Nappi RE, Kokot-Kierepa M. Vaginal health: Insights, Views and Attitudes (VIVA) – results from an
international survey. Climacteric. February 2012; 15: 36-44.
Sturdee DW, Panay N. Recommendations for the management of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy.
Climacteric. 2010; 13: 509–522
Nelson, HD, et al. Menopausal hormone therapy for the primary prevention of chronic conditions: A
systematic review to update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations. Annals of Internal
Medicine. 2012; 157(2): 104-112.
The North American Menopause Society. The 2012 Hormone Therapy Position Statement of The North
American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2012; 19(3): 257-271.
Blog Note: This information was provided by Novo Nordisk, a Danish Pharmaceutical Company. I was not compensated to post this article.