There is one thing nearly every woman experiences as a result of menopause and its something women rarely want to talk about with their health care provider: Vaginal Atrophy (VA)
Some degree of vaginal atrophy will affect almost every women as she ages, so this is a very important topic that women should be willing to discuss with their doctor. But why is it that no one ever wants to talk about it? Vaginal atrophy can affect a woman’s relationship with her partner, and can be very detrimental to her quality of life, her self image and her sexuality. The time to talk about it is now.
If you have a history of breast cancer, oral estrogen therapy generally isn’t recommended as it might stimulate cancer cell growth, especially if your breast cancer was hormonally sensitive. Whether low-dose vaginal estrogen is safe for breast cancer survivors is controversial. It’s not known whether even a small increase in the level of estrogen circulating in your bloodstream may increase your risk of the cancer coming back.
Non-hormonal vaginal preparations are helpful for women who do not wish to use hormone therapy, or cannot use it because of other health issues. Water-based vaginal lubricating agents and moisturizing gels are some of the non-hormonal vaginal preparations available.[/tab1]
[tab2]Half of all postmenopausal women experience vaginal atrophy, although few seek treatment. Many resign themselves to the symptoms or are embarrassed to approach the topic with their doctors. Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience symptoms of vaginal atrophy.[/tab2]
– What vaginal symptoms are you experiencing? – How long have you experienced these symptoms? – Do you continue to have menstrual periods? – How much distress do your symptoms cause you? – Are you sexually active?
– Does the condition limit your sexual activity? – Have you been treated for cancer? – Do you use scented soap or bubble bath? – Do you douche or use feminine hygiene spray? – What medications or vitamin supplements do you take?