A sore point
In many issues of Menopause Matters we have included articles, results of surveys, research findings and advice about the very embarrassing topic of vaginal dryness and discomfort which is commonly due the menopausal changes of vaginal atrophy. With lack of estrogen, many women experience thinning, drying changes, in the vagina which can lead to irritation, pain, discharge, bleeding, soreness and reduced response during sex, which can then also lead to relationship problems. We know from our surveys that still, in the 21st century, women find it very difficult to discuss this with their partner, let alone a healthcare professional, often making excuses not to have sex, putting up with the symptoms for many years. We know that their confidence is affected and this common symptom can have a great effect on self-esteem, quality of life and relationships.
Vaginal atrophy often occurs a few years after the menopause, or a few years after stopping HRT. Symptoms can be reduced using lubricants or moisturisers, and the underlying cause of lack of estrogen can easily be treated with vaginal estrogen in the form of small vaginal tablets, cream, pessaries or a vaginal ring. Vaginal estrogen can be used even when HRT is not desired or not recommended since the dose of estrogen is very small and is concentrated in the vagina. Vaginal estrogen can be used for many years and indeed may be required indefinitely.
If you are experiencing vaginal changes, be sure that help is available. See more info on our vaginal symptoms page.