Treatment for Vaginal Atrophy
There are several treatment options available for women suffering from vaginal atrophy, which typically causes dryness, itching and redness to the vagina and discomfort during intercourse.
This is a common condition which generally affects women following the menopause when vaginal moisture is most lacking.
If vaginal dryness is seriously affecting your everyday life, you can seek medical advice from your GP or gynaecologist who can make a proper diagnosis after a quick and simple examination of the vaginal area.
Once diagnosed, the healthcare professional can help you decide on the best treatment option for you, based on severity, age and other lifestyle factors.
If symptoms of vaginal atrophy are less severe, your GP may recommend over-the-counter self-medication options. Your doctor may suggest trying a vaginal moisturiser to help restore some of the lost moisture of the vagina. This may be applied several times a day and may temporarily help relieve some of the discomfort.
Alternatively, a water-based lubricant can be used to help reduce the discomfort a woman may be experiencing whilst having sexual intercourse. It is recommended that products containing glycerine be avoided, as this chemical may add to any burning and irritation. Additionally, petroleum jelly should be avoided while using latex condoms for sex, since this can break down the material, thus rendering it useless.
Where vaginal atrophy is caused by menopause, your GP may prescribe you with vaginal oestrogen, which helps by increasing the oestrogen levels that have been lost as a result of menopause.
Vaginal oestrogen can be distributed in a number of ways, including pills placed inside the vagina (pessaries), vaginal rings or vaginal creams. All treatments work as well as each other, so it is important to find the one that is best for you. This can be discussed with your GP or gynaecologist.
This treatment is often much more effective for menopausal women than the self-medicating options such as lubricants and moisturisers. However, it may take several weeks before you notice a difference after oestrogen treatment, so it is recommended that a woman also uses moisturiser or lubrication to start with.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT involves taking medication to replace the hormones which have been lost during menopause. HRT can be prescribed by your GP and can be taken in several forms including tablets, gels, patches or implants. The treatment supplies oestrogen to the entire body.
HRT will have a stronger effect on the body than vaginal oestrogen, so it is recommended if you have some other symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flushes. However, it is important to note that HRT has several side effects, which may deter many women from going ahead with this type of treatment for their vaginal atrophy.
MonaLisa Touch® Laser Therapy
A new type of treatment is now available for those suffering from the discomforts caused by vaginal atrophy. MonaLisa Touch® is an innovative new technology which is minimally invasive and pain-free.
The treatment acts to reshape and regenerate the atrophic vaginal tissue, which in turn helps to stimulate the production of collagen lost during menopause, therefore helping to restore the normal functionality of the vagina.
Many women have reported significant reductions in dryness, burning sensations, urinary problems and pain during sex, following laser therapy. Moreover, this new form of vaginal atrophy treatment is quick and painless, with very few risks or side effects which may occur through in traditional treatment options such as HRT.
For vaginal atrophy, it is recommended that three treatments take place, typically 4-6 weeks apart, followed by treatments on a yearly basis if symptoms still exist. However, treatment frequency should be tailored to individual needs and this can be recommended by your GP or gynaecologist based on cause and severity of the vaginal atrophy.