Why does vaginal dryness affect women after menopause?
Vaginal dryness, also known as ‘vaginal atrophy’, is a common condition, affecting as many as half of all women after their menopause.3
The hormone oestrogen, which is produced by the ovaries, helps to keep the vagina moist and maintain the thickness of the vaginal lining.5 After menopause, vaginal dryness and other symptoms that affect the vagina and the urinary tract may occur, because the ovaries produce less oestrogen.3,6
You are not alone!
About 50 % of all women experience symptoms
of dry vagina after menopause3
Yet, despite the availability of effective treatment
options, only 1 in 4 women seek medical help3
Vaginal dryness treatment
While the hot flushes and night sweats of menopause resolve over time, symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy are progressive and frequently require treatment.3
Vaginal dryness can be helped by simple lubricants, but the best and most logical treatment for vaginal atrophy is to use local oestrogen.3
According to the International Menopause Society, local vaginal oestrogen therapy is preferred when symptoms are limited to the vagina.3g This is because only small doses of oestrogen are needed to treat vaginal symptoms of menopause, plus the vaginal response to local oestrogen therapy is quick and long-lasting.3
Oestrogen therapy effectively restores the vaginal wall and treats the symptoms associated with vaginal dryness.7 The International Menopause Society recommends that vaginal oestrogen be used for as long as bothersome symptoms persist, and that the dose of oestrogen should be low, however there is currently limited data regarding use beyond 1 year. It is not necessary to take any progesterone with local vaginal oestrogen, but it is important to tell your doctor if you experience any unexpected or abnormal vaginal bleeding.3
Local oestrogen therapy can be given as vaginal tablets or a vaginal cream.3
Vaginal oestrogen tablets compared to vaginal cream
Are you experiencing vaginal dryness?
Fill in the boxes below and show it to your healthcare professional,
to help start the discussion about the symptoms of vaginal dryness
and their management.
1. Portman DJ, Gass MLS, on behalf of the Vulvovaginal Atrophy Terminology Consensus Conference Panel. Genitourinary
syndrome of menopause: new terminology for vulvovaginal atrophy from the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health
and The North American Menopause Society. Menopause 2014;21(10):DOI: 10.1097/gme.0000000000000329.
2. Reference available on request.
3. Sturdee DW, Panay N, on behalf of the International Menopause Society Writing Group. Recommendations for the management of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. Climacteric 2010;13:509-522.
4. Minkin MJ, Maamari R, Reiter S. Postmenopausal vaginal atrophy:
evaluation of treatment with local estrogen therapy. Int J Women’s Health 2014;6:281-288.
5. Bachmann G, Santen RJ. Patient information: Vaginal dryness (Beyond the Basics) [online] Jan 2018 [cited 22 Feb 2018]; Available from URL: http://www.uptodate.com/contents/vaginal-dryness-beyond-the-basics.
6. Johnston S. Urogenital Concerns. JOGC 2006:S33-S42.
7. Simon J, Nachtigall L, Gut R, et al. Effective treatment of vaginal atrophy with an ultra-low dose estradiol vaginal tablet. Obs Gynecol 2008;112(5):1053-1060.
8. Reference available on request.
9. Dugal R, Hesla K, Sørdal T, et al. Comparison of usefulness of estradiol vaginal tablets and estriol vagitories for the treatment of vaginal atrophy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2000;79(4):293-297.
10. Portman D, Shulman L, Yeaw J, et al. One-year treatment
persistence with local estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women diagnosed as having vaginal atrophy. Menopause 2015;22(11):1-7.
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