Vaginal Health at Every Age

Vaginal Health at Every Age

Just like the rest of your body, your vagina will undergo some changes as you get older. It's not something to fear. It is normal, and knowing what's to come can help alleviate any of the shock you might otherwise feel upon discovering these changes.

To keep your vagina healthy, it’s important to understand what’s going on “down there.”

Identifying Vaginal Dryness

Although vaginal dryness is quite easy to identify, it is difficult to distinguish between the different gradations of this condition. Many women will experience some sort of vaginal dryness in their lifetimes, whether it be a cause of hormonal imbalance, or triggered by other factors such as insufficient arousal or using tampons. Vaginal dryness symptoms can vary in intensity and intermittency.

Intensity: Light itching to a constant, painful itching or burning sensation.

Intermittency: Can come and go or be continual depending on the cause.

The reduced estrogen levels at certain points in the menstrual cycle and during stages of significant hormonal imbalance - puberty, pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause - cause the loss of the usual moistness and softness in the vagina, leading to vaginal dryness. In this sense, we can say that vaginal dryness is largely caused by the hormonal fluctuations during the changes women go through during their reproductive life.

These stages of reproductive life in which this disorder appears such as around PMS and during puberty, pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause are influenced by diverse hormonal changes. These, combined with other environmental factors, can have an impact on a woman's personal experience of vaginal dryness.

Keep in mind that everyone's different, so you might not experience all of these, or you might see varying degrees of these changes. With that said, let us look into the crystal ball of your vaginal future:

Vaginal health in your Teens

Your vagina is a self-cleaning, self-lubricating machine. When you’re turned on, various physiological changes trigger a release of extra fluid to make sex both easier and more enjoyable. Some girls who feel like they’re always too wet down there might be happy about this, but others aren’t fans of this side effect.

If you start birth control, you natural lubrication may decline. Birth control, for all its benefits, can change how your body goes through this process. Contraceptives mimic the second half of the menstrual cycle, which is a progesterone-dominant, low-estrogen state, so you have less estrogen circling in the body when taking it than you would otherwise. Vaginal dryness can also be caused by the use of certain medications (anticholinergics, antihistamines, cancer therapies etc….) and the use of tampons. If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, vaginal moisturizers, such as GYNATROF, are the recommended first-line treatment for relief.

In summary, your vagina is self-cleaning. As it cleans itself, it produces a white or clear discharge. Hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle affect the amount of discharge your vagina produces. Unless you’re having symptoms such as pain during sex, itching, a foul-smelling discharge, or burning, your vagina needs little maintenance in your teens — other than a daily washing with mild soap and water.

Vaginal health in your 20s

In your 20s you experience a peak of the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen is responsible for keeping your vagina lubricated, elastic, and acidic.

If you’re sexually active, especially if you have sex frequently, you may experience urinary tract infections (UTI) as bacteria travel from the vagina to the urethra. To help minimize your risk of developing a UTI, urinate as soon as possible after sex to help force bacteria out of your urethra.

Some women, in their 20, may experience vaginal dryness.  For some women, hormonal birth control causes dryness. The biggest culprit is the Pill, but contraceptive patches and rings can do it, too. Contraceptives mimic the second half of the menstrual cycle, which is a progesterone-dominant, low-estrogen state, so you have less estrogen circling in the body when taking it than you would otherwise.  Likewise, some women that have had a baby and are breast-feeding may also experience vaginal dryness.  Postpartum, the pituitary gland releases prolactin, a hormone that tells your body to produce milk. An elevation in prolactin suppresses ovarian production of estrogen.

Vaginal dryness can also be caused by the use of certain medications (anticholinergics, antihistamines, cancer therapies etc….) and the use of tampons.  Bottom line, if you experience vaginal dryness, vaginal moisturizers, such as GYNATROF, are the recommended first-line treatment for relief.

In summary, your vagina is self-cleaning. As it cleans itself, it produces a white or clear discharge. Hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle affect the amount of discharge your vagina produces. Unless you’re having symptoms such as pain during sex, itching, a foul-smelling discharge, or burning, your vagina needs little maintenance in your 20s — other than a daily washing with mild soap and water.

Vaginal health in your 30s

During your 30s, your inner labia may darken due to hormone changes. If you become pregnant, vaginal discharge may increase and appear milky. It may have a mild odor, but should not be green, yellow, or smell bad or fishy.

After giving birth, your vagina may lose some of its elasticity and stretch more than usual. Over time, most vaginas will return to almost pre-birth size. Kegel exercises can help by strengthening pelvic floor muscles and restoring vaginal tone. If you recently had a baby or you are breastfeeding, you may also experience vaginal dryness.  Postpartum, the pituitary gland releases prolactin, a hormone that tells your body to produce milk. An elevation in prolactin suppresses ovarian production of estrogen.

Oral contraceptives may cause vaginal changes such as increased vaginal discharge, vaginal dryness, and breakthrough bleeding. Vaginal dryness can also be caused by the use of certain medications (anticholinergics, antihistamines, cancer therapies etc….) and the use of tampons.  These symptoms often resolve on their own.  If you experience vaginal dryness, vaginal moisturizers, such as GYNATROF, are the recommended first-line treatment for relief.

Vaginal health in your 40s

Your hair down there might start to thin around this decade, possibly as a natural consequence of getting older or due to declining estrogen. That estrogen drop signals the perimenopausal transition that’s likely to begin in this decade, as most women usually reach menopause somewhere between the ages of 50 and 52. Perimenopause is the timespan just before you stop menstruating and your vagina goes through significant changes during this period.   As estrogen levels in your body decrease, your vaginal walls become thinner and drier and you may notice the beginnings of vaginal dryness or changes in elasticity, resulting in less pleasurable sex. This is known as vaginal atrophy and may cause:


Having regular sex helps slow the progression of vaginal atrophy by increasing blood flow to the vagina and keeping it elastic. Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers, such as GYNATROF, are the recommended first-line course of treatment in helping to combat many of these symptoms.  If symptoms persist, after using a vaginal moisturizer, you should consult your doctor.  Your doctor may recommend using estrogen in addition to the regular application of a vaginal moisturizer.

Vaginal health in your 50s and beyond

By the early 50’s, most women typically have stopped menstruating and their estrogen levels are quite low or depleted. Menopause brings with it the most noticeable vaginal and vulvar changes, not to mention the ones women are most likely to bring to the attention of their doctors such as vaginal atrophy. Dwindling estrogen leads to thinner, less elastic, drier vulvar and vaginal tissue, which can make sex feel like using sandpaper and cause irritation that makes you feel like you need to pee.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have vaginal atrophy:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Burning feelings in your vagina
  • Pain and bleeding during sex
  • Vaginal irritation
  • Vaginal soreness
  • Itching in and around the vagina
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent, strong urges to urinate

Low estrogen doesn’t only impact your vagina. It also impacts your urinary tract. Atrophy may occur in your urethra and lead to urine leakage, overactive bladder, and urinary frequency.

Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers, such as Gynatrof, are the recommended first-line course of treatment in helping to combat many of these symptoms. If symptoms persist, after using a vaginal moisturizer, you should consult your doctor. Your doctor may recommend using estrogen in addition to the regular application of a vaginal moisturizer.

Postmenopausal women are at risk of vaginal prolapse. Prolonged labor and vaginal childbirth are also risk factors. Vaginal prolapse occurs when all or part of the vaginal canal falls into the vaginal opening. Vaginal prolapse often involves other organs such as the bladder, rectum, and uterus.

Vaginal prolapse symptoms may include a heavy sensation in the pelvis, vaginal discomfort, and a low backache that improves when you lie down. Vaginal prolapse treatments are pelvic floor exercises, insertion of a pessary (supportive device) to hold the prolapsed area in place, or as a last resort, surgery. If you have been prescribed a pessary, a vaginal moisturizer, such as Gynatrof, is a recommended choice for pessary insertion and maintenance.

Low estrogen may also change the acidity in your vagina. This may increase your risk of infection due to bacteria overgrowth.

Vaginal dryness can have an impact on sexual health and fertility. 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. Thus, it is vital for women to seek treatment options for this condition, to avoid the potential health complications that could arise if left untreated.

You probably already know your vagina is a seriously impressive organ. This amazing body part can bring about intense pleasure, annoying pain, and even another tiny human being. In short, it's pretty awe-inspiring. Unless you’re having symptoms such as pain during sex, itching, a foul-smelling discharge, or burning, your vagina needs little maintenance in your teens and 20’s — other than a daily washing with mild soap and water.

Still, as you age, your vagina will age as well. That's why we think it's crucial to stay on top of everything going on below the belt. At any age, if any of these changes concern you or are making you physically uncomfortable, don't shy away from talking about it, whether you broach the topic with your ob-gyn, your regular doctor, or a nurse practitioner. Having an aging vagina doesn’t have to be a negative experience, as long as you are informed.

Your grandmother didn’t know about it.
Your mother didn’t talk about it.
But YOU can do something about it.

Take Control with GYNATROF.