Many vaginal disorders relating to dryness, laxity after childbirth or early-onset menopause are ignored and perceived as a normal side-affect of aging. Many women fail to recognise vaginal atrophy as a chronic, progressive condition that requires ongoing treatment of the underlying cause. The end of Oestrogen production by the ovaries creates a range of changes to a woman’s body and emotional health. Menopause and even pre-menopause, whether natural or induced, is linked to the onset of many symptoms including;
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex (dyspareunia)
- Vaginal itching, burning
- Vaginal laxity
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Changes in Vaginal discharge & odour
- Recurrent cystitis
Studies show that symptoms caused by vaginal atrophy are present in 50% of post-menopausal women yet many just accept these as part of the ageing process.
These symptoms are not just limited to mothers and women experiencing menopause. Younger, pre-motherhood women can also suffer from lack of lubrication, minor stress incontinence and pain during sex.
In many cases, women suffer in silence due to embarrassment or being uncomfortable discussing their symptoms. Others hear friends mention the same symptoms so these symptoms are thought to be “normal” and “just what happens”.
Symptoms range from mild discomfort to extremely painful and can affect a women’s overall well-being and confidence. A satisfying sex life can become a thing of the past and this can lead to relationships becoming strained.
Everyone talks about the hot flashes, the mood swings and the weight gain, but one of the most disempowering, the most life changing elements of menopause can be the death of your sex life … or at least an enjoyable sex life. – (www.rubymagazine.com.au)
During menopause or after childbirth, the fibres in the vagina reduce in their production of collagen required to maintain and preserve the connective tissue hydration. This leads to the vaginal mucosa becoming dry, less nourished. Due to the fragile state, the vagina becomes prone to infection due to higher pH levels and creating a vaginal ecosystem that leads to recurrent vaginitis and dyspareunia.
Without treatment, the narrowing of the vaginal opening and loss of elasticity are progressive and may lead to worsening dyspareunia, sexual dysfunction and vaginal constriction.
Until recently, treatments have been limited to topical creams and hormone replacement therapy, which aren’t always suitable.