Medical Risks

Complications associated with Vaginal Atrophy

Vaginal Atrophy is usually not dangerous, however if left untreated it can increase the risk for other medical problems.

Women who have this condition have a higher probability of:

  1. Urinary problems. Studies have linked vaginal atrophy to an alteration to the urinary system leading to urinary troubles. You may experience urgency of urination, increased frequency of urination or a burning sensation while urinating if you have vaginal atrophy.
  2. Vaginal infections. Vaginal atrophy may lead to an alteration of acid balance of a vagina making such women with this condition more likely to acquire vaginal infection.
  3. Sexual Problems. Unfortunately, vaginal atrophy takes away one of the most physically, emotionally, and spiritually rewarding activities - your sex life. In fact, approximately 50%-60% of post-menopausal women have vaginal atrophy symptoms that negatively impact on sexual function and quality of life.
  4. Fertility Issues. Cervical mucus is important for maintaining a balanced pH level in the vagina, protecting the vagina from foreign bacteria, and helping sperm to reach the uterus. Therefore, when the vagina is not lubricated enough it increases the chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease, and decreases the chances of conception.

In a study of sexuality and health among older adults,

Vaginal Atrophy negatively impacts a women’s sexuality.
As many as one-third of women over age 56 avoid sex because of sexual problems.1

1. Lindau ST, Schumm LP, Laumann EO, Levinson W, O'Muircheartaigh CA, Waite LJ. A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007;357(8):762–774.
* Based on s study examining the prevalence of sexual activity, behaviors, and problems in a national probability sample of 3005 U.S. adults (1550 women and 1455 men) 57 to 85 years of age, and the association of these variables with age and health status.

 

CLOSER SURVEY (Canadian Data) Effects of Vaginal Discomfort on Intimate Relationships

In the CLOSER Survey, 27% of Canadian women said vaginal atrophy made them lose confidence in themselves as a sexual partner.2

2. Gingras L et al. CLOSER, CLarifying Vaginal Atrophy’s Impact On SEx and Relationships. SOGC 68th Annual Conference. June 2012. Poster 486.
† Based on a survey of 4,100 females and 4,100 males representing the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, France, Canada, and the United States Assessments included: (i) talking about VA and its symptoms; (ii) the impact of VA on intimacy, relationships, and women's self-esteem; (iii) talking about VA and erectile dysfunction (ED); and (iv) the impact of local estrogen therapy (LET) on intimacy and relationships.

Vaginal discomfort caused most surveyed Canadian women to avoid intimacy (58%), experience loss of libido (64%), and experience pain associated with sex (64%). Most surveyed Canadian men also believed that vaginal discomfort caused their partners to avoid intimacy (78%), experience loss of libido (52%), and find sex painful (59%). Approximately 30% of Canadian women and men cited vaginal discomfort as the reason they ceased having sex altogether. Another 27% of women had lost confidence in themselves as a sexual partner and no longer felt sexually attractive.

Available studies have shown that only 25% of symptomatic women will seek help for VA, and a large majority of women (77%) are uncomfortable discussing these "personal" symptoms with their health care providers.3 The taboo status surrounding vaginal atrophy means that many women do not talk about their condition and don’t receive the effective treatment they deserve.

3. Labrie F et al. Effect of intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (Prasterone) on libido and sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. Menopause 2009 Sep-Oct;16(5):923-31.