Don’t ignore vaginal dryness and pain
[Harvard Health, 2/15/19] The condition is treatable, although treatments likely won’t provide complete relief.
Vaginal dryness occurs in women of all ages, but it becomes much more common after menopause. It’s estimated that the problem affects about half of postmenopausal women — most of whom, possibly as many as 90%, don’t seek treatment for their symptoms, which include not only dryness, but also irritation and pain during sexual intercourse.
The North American Menopause Society and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health refer to this combination of menopausal symptoms, which are brought on by a drop in the body’s estrogen production, as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).
GSM can significantly reduce quality of life, similar to other chronic conditions. While other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, typically decline over time, vaginal dryness tends to linger because it results from physical changes in the vagina — specifically atrophy of tissues, which become thinner, drier, and less flexible because of estrogen loss.
“I find that many women see it as part of aging and just sort of deal with it. But half of women don’t get these symptoms as they age. So, it’s not just a part of aging,” says Dr. Caroline Mitchell, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. However, while existing treatments for this condition can definitely help symptoms, they fall short of a cure for most women, she says………….
Read the Full Article at: Harvard Health
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Jaelin Stickels, CNM, WHNP