What is atrophic vaginitis?

Atrophic Vaginitis
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Atrophic vaginitis: Overview

Atrophic vaginitis is an irritation of the vagina. It's caused by thinning tissues and less moisture in the vaginal walls. It often happens during menopause when hormone levels change. Surgery to remove the ovaries also can cause it. Your doctor may do tests to rule out other causes.

The problem is most often treated with the hormone estrogen. It comes in a cream, tablets, or a soft plastic ring that is placed in the vagina.

Atrophic Vaginitis

Atrophic vaginitis occurs when the lining of the vagina becomes thin and fragile because of decreased estrogen levels, usually during and after menopause. Symptoms include vaginal dryness, vaginal burning and irritation, pain during sexual intercourse, and/or bleeding after sexual intercourse.

How can you care for yourself when you have atrophic vaginitis?

  • Use a lubricant for your vagina if sex is dry or painful. Lubricants can be water-,silicone-, or oil-based. Ask your doctor about what kind may be a better option for you.
  • Talk with your doctor about using vaginal estrogen. It treats dryness and thinning tissue.
  • Do not douche.
  • Ask your doctor about pelvic floor physical therapy. Regular vaginal stretching exercises may help reduce symptoms. Regular sexual activity may also help.

Atrophic vaginitis: When to call

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have unexpected vaginal bleeding.
  • You do not get better as expected.

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