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Menopause is inevitable in every woman’s life. And it can be a crazy journey full of hot flashes, sleep problems, mood issues and more, for some. From your first periods to your last, your vaginal health goes through lots of ups and downs. In fact, vaginal issues during menopause only increase. If you are keen to know about the vaginal issues you are likely to face, you are at the right place.
HealthShots spoke to Dr Swati Gaikwad, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Pune, to learn about the vaginal issues which can occur during the menopause stage.
Vaginal dryness is a common occurrence and it can occur at any age. This condition can weaken your vaginal skin health and can cause your vagina to suffer. If you’re in your menopausal stage, it is a common symptom of it. Dr Gaikwad said, “Your vagina can get dry and dehydrated if you are nearing or into your menopause. This is a common problem seen in many women.” Moreover, this can even disturb your balance of good bacteria down there, inviting yeast infections. However, you can drink enough water or use a good moisturizer down there to prevent dryness.
Does it burn when you pee? If you have been experiencing a burning sensation every time you need to attend the nature’s call, you must know that this is also a common problem during menopause. “When estrogen levels decrease, this causes tissues to dry up, and you will have a burning sensation down there while urinating,” said Dr Gaikwad. If you are experiencing the persistent urge to urinate and experience pain while urinating, see your doctor immediately because it can affect your kidney and reproductive health.
Apart from this, if you’re not in your menopausal stage, then the condition is medically called dysuria. And this can even lead to pain while urinating. So, consult with your doctor.
“Due to menopause, the vagina may feel to expand to accommodate the penis causing painful sex,” said Dr Gaikwad. Women in menopause also lose interest in sex due to the low estrogen levels which can result in dryness and thinning of vaginal tissues, making penetration and intercourse uncomfortable for many women. This can result in vaginal tightness also, which makes sex painful. Try to use a good lubricant while having intercourse.
Low estrogen levels in your body means less lubrication due to which your vaginal lining can become thin and less stretchy. It happens because the vagina and vulva become shortened and tighter at the opening. In fact, in some cases, women may also feel vaginal tightness during sex in menopausal age along with pain, burning, and soreness.
During menopause, women experience a drop in estrogen levels and physical changes to the vagina, vulva, and vaginal opening, which can cause symptoms like dryness and urinary tract infections. UTI is an infection of the urinary system and it’s symptoms include, dryness, painful urination, frequent urination, itching, and pain in your side or lower back. However it can be treated, UTIs can be bothersome also and may require immediate medical attention. Remember, when it comes to your health, you cannot take it lightly at all. Always keep your vagina dry and clean to keep infections at bay.
Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) is a condition when your vaginal walls get dry, thin, and inflamed due to the decreased estrogen levels in your body. Dr Gaikwad said, “After menopause, reduced estrogen levels can cause atrophic vaginitis, which is quite troublesome.” Vaginal discharge, itching burning, discomfort, and strong odour are some of the symptoms that come with vaginitis.
“Menopausal women need to take utmost care of their vaginal health. Try to take prompt action if you have vaginitis. One should not neglect the problem,” added Dr Gaikwad.