Archive for the ‘atrophic vaginitis’ Category

Your Age And Your Vagina

January 4, 2015

Aging takes its toll on my organs and systems in the body. No one can ever entirely escape the affects of aging. No one can ever completely turn back the biologic clock. But we can conduct ourselves with good nutrition, exercise, and good lifestyle behaviors.

As we all get older, many things change and we often have to make allowances for them. Take our skin, for example. We use creams and moisturizers to combat aging and sagging of our skin as we enter middle age. And, just like our skin, it’s important to remember things internally like our joints, bones, and even vaginal tissue can also change with age.

As a woman enters menopause, vaginal changes may occur. The vagina can become shorter and narrower. And, as a woman’s estrogen levels start to naturally decline with age, the vaginal tissue can become less of a soft cushion for an erect penis to land. This allows more potential for increased friction, and intercourse can become quite painful for some women who have estrogen changes in the vagina.

In your fertile years, estrogen plays a key role in the development of your reproductive cycle and—among other things—helps keep your vagina healthy, i.e., soft, pliable, and accommodating to an erect penis. As a woman approaches menopause, her hormone levels start to plummet. Once menopause occurs, a woman’s estrogen production really starts to decline and can cause her vaginal tissue to change.

A new drug, Osphena® (ospemifene) works like estrogen in the lining of the uterus, but can work differently in other parts of the body.

Taking estrogen alone or Osphena® may increase your chance for getting cancer of the lining of the uterus, strokes, and blood clots. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the lining of the uterus. Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause, so tell them right away if this happens while you are using Osphena®.
You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with Osphena®.

Possible Side Effects
Serious but less common side effects can include stroke, blood clots, and cancer of the lining of the uterus.
Common side effects can include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, muscle spasms and increased sweating.

Bottom Line: The side effects of menopause are vaginal dryness and often painful sexual intimacy. Help is available. Women who experience these problems can be helped with topical and oral medications.

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Problems “Down There” That Affect Your Sex Life

September 11, 2012

One of life’s greatest pleasures is intimacy with your partner. Nothing can put the ice on that relationship faster than when there is pain and discomfort for either a man or a woman associated with sexual intimacy. This article will review the most common causes of vaginal pain and what can be done to make the ouch go away.

Vaginitis
The itching, burning, and pain associated with vaginitis results from a disruption in the natural balance of bacteria that live in every healthy vagina. There’s no single cause. Common culprits include hormonal changes due to birth control, menopause, or pregnancy as well as chronic medical conditions, such as HIV and diabetes, which weaken the immune system. Frequent sexual intercourse and sex with multiple partners can be to blame as well. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age. Women with BV may have a copious, thin grayish-white discharge. BV is easily treated with oral or vaginal antibiotics.
Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of one of several strains of Candida, a fungus that lives normally in the vagina. Women may notice a thick white discharge with a slight odor. However, many women complain of genital itching, soreness, or irritation. Treatment consists of a vaginal cream or an oral antifungal medication, Diflucan.
Treatment is painless and easy; most women simply insert at bedtime a prescribed cream or an ovule (a soft suppository) — generally soothing but messy — or they can take a prescription oral antifungal such as Diflucan. You’ll avoid the mess, but relief might take a few days longer.

Atrophic vaginitis is a result of a decrease in estrogen levels and the lining of the vagina becomes thin and easily irritated. Treatments such as estrogen creams or a vaginal estrogen ring can help.

Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, can cause a greenish-yellow frothy discharge, with some itching and burning. This infection is easily treated with oral or vaginal antibiotics.

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is a condition where the pain so severe you can’t sit comfortably let alone have intercourse. The cause is unknown, but possible contributors include injury to nerves in the vulva, hypersensitivity to Candida, and pelvic floor muscle spasms. Treatment options include estrogens, oral antifungal medication, topical steroid creams, and physical therapy to loosen the muscles causing the spasms.
Vaginismus
This is a rare condition that fewer than 2% of women, which causes the muscles surrounding the vagina to contract so tightly that a woman can’t have sexual intercourse or even insert a tampon. The cause is unknown, but like vulvodynia, vaginismus responds to physical therapy. Now doctors are using Botox to relax the muscles and prevent spasms for up to six months.

Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when there’s increased pressure or stress on the bladder or lower abdomen, such as when sneezing, when coughing, or during intercourse. This is a source of great embarrassment to a woman who loses urine during sexual intimacy. The cause is usually due to multiple vaginal childbirths, estrogen deficiency, obesity, and chronic constipation with the chronic straining to have a BM.
The easiest solution is for a woman to use the bathroom prior to sexual intimacy in order to empty her bladder. Kegel exercises can help build up the pelvic muscles that support the bladder and the urethra. Now there are minimally invasive surgical procedures that can help restore continence that can be done on an outpatient basis with immediate results.

Bottom Line: If you think you have any of these, see your doctor. Over-the-counter creams will often make the problem worse. The diagnosis is easily made in the doctor’s office and treatment can begin immediately and you will put the icing back on your sexual cake.