Atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophic is a common condition that occurs when there is a decline in estrogen level.
A decline of estrogen leads to thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall tissue.
Common Symptoms of Atrophic Vaginitis include:
- Vaginal dryness / discharge
- Vulva itching
- Pain with urination and urinary frequency
- Urinary incontinence
- Increase incidence of urinary tract infection
- Pain with intercourse (Dyspareunia)
- Loss of vaginal lubrication during sex
- Vaginal bleeding
Such a condition often occurs when an individual becomes postmenopausal. A temporary drop in estrogen level can also occur during breast-feeding and if an individual is placed on anti-estrogen medication such as Arimidex for treatment of breast cancer.
Additional more direct cause would include radiation therapy to the pelvic region such as for cervical / anal cancers.
Other proposed risk factors include use of tobacco products and the absence of vaginal delivery in women who have given birth via c-section.
The workup for this condition includes a detailed history and physical examination. Laboratory studies may also include a urinalysis and culture as well as the need for a cystoscopy as well if patient has significant urinary complaints.
There is a variety of treatments available to address atrophic vaginitis:
Over-the-counter remedies such as:
- Vaginal moisturizing products
- Water-based lubricants
Use of estrogen supplementation (if appropriate):
- Topical cream
- Oral estrogen
- Vaginal estrogen tablet
- Laser vaginal rejuvenation (Mona Lisa Touch)
Most importantly, the appropriateness of these options should be discussed with your physician during your appointment.