Menopause is a natural part of life. Women who pass their reproductive age will enter menopause, which occurs when the female body stops producing high levels of sex hormones. When menopause strikes, women often experience symptoms like increased sweating, insomnia, and decreased libido. Menopause can also affect your vagina by causing vaginal atrophy. Here are four ways an OBGYN doctor can treat your vaginal atrophy:
1. Vaginal Lubricant
While vaginal atrophy affects the muscles lining the inside of your vagina, it can also affect your ability to self-lubricate. Dryness can be uncomfortable, causing chafing and itching. Your doctor can recommend lubricants that are safe for everyday use. Applying a small amount of lubricant to the interior and exterior of your vagina can increase your daily comfort. When purchasing a lubricant, look for pH-balanced options that do not contain glycerine since glycerine may cause yeast infections in people prone to it.
2. Topical Estrogen Creams And Devices
Estrogen can be readily absorbed by the body through the skin. When vaginal atrophy is your primary menopause symptom, your OBGYN doctor may recommend treating it at the source. Topical estrogen creams can increase the elasticity of your vagina, which may have been lost through atrophy. Some women don't like the messiness of estrogen creams. Fortunately, there are other options. Estrogen suppositories can be placed inside the vagina to similar effect. Women who desire a simpler approach may prefer an insertable vaginal ring that steadily releases estrogen over time.
3. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy can treat the symptoms of menopause, including vaginal atrophy. Taking hormone replacement pills on a daily basis can increase and stabilize your hormone levels. HRT has the benefit of improving systemic symptoms, including mood swings and hot flashes. If your OBGYN doctor decides that HRT is right for you, make sure you follow their instructions precisely. HRT is most effective when pills are taken on schedule; taking your pills at the same time every day will ensure your hormone levels remain stable over time.
4. Lifestyle Changes
Your OBGYN doctor can also suggest lifestyle changes that will alleviate symptoms caused by vaginal atrophy. Regular exercise can reduce your symptoms by increasing blood flow throughout your body. Regular sexual intercourse or masturbation can relieve your symptoms for the same reason. Women may find they feel more comfortable if they switch to wearing breathable cotton underwear, as well. Sleeping without underwear at night can also help diminish chafing caused by vaginal atrophy.