Common Causes of Vaginal Atrophy

Common Causes of Vaginal Atrophy

If you’ve noticed the unpleasant symptoms of vaginal atrophy, you’re in good company. Each year, millions of women suffer a decline in vaginal health and a decrease in their quality of life because of this common condition which can cause:

At Alpenglow Gynecology, women’s health specialist Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and our compassionate team understand the frustrating symptoms vaginal atrophy brings. That’s why we offer specialized in-house treatments at our offices in Littleton, Colorado. 

Rickie also believes in educating our patients about their reproductive health, including the causes of and treatments for managing the symptoms of vaginal atrophy. Keep reading to learn what you need to know. 

What causes vaginal atrophy?

Women develop vaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis, when the walls of the vagina grow thin and dry. Most of the time, the condition develops when your body starts to produce less estrogen.

The most common reason for a significant drop in estrogen is related to aging and the end of the reproductive cycle, such as during perimenopause and menopause. This is why most women with vaginal atrophy are over 50. 

In fact, because it’s so common in the menopausal years, affecting at least 50% of women, doctors sometimes refer to vaginal atrophy as the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). 

Although vaginal atrophy usually affects older women, that doesn’t mean women under 50 can’t develop the condition. Anything that causes your estrogen levels to decline can trigger the condition, including:

Because sexual intercourse stimulates blood flow to the vagina and helps maintain tissue elasticity, women who don’t have regular vaginal intercourse can develop the condition or experience more extreme cases in menopause.  

Can anything treat vaginal atrophy?

Some women opt for surgical intervention, but this is painful and comes with a host of risky side effects. 

Hormone replacement therapy can help improve the health of your vaginal skin. However, many women prefer to avoid taking hormones. And topical treatments can cause irritation, more pain, and trigger unpleasant discharge. 

At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie often recommends an innovative therapy called the MonaLisa Touch® to help women find relief from the frustrating symptoms of vaginal atrophy. This minimally invasive treatment restores your vaginal health by gently heating your delicate vaginal tissues.

The laser isn’t hot enough to cause you any discomfort or harm the surrounding tissues. But it is warm enough to stimulate your body’s natural healing response. The MonaLisa Touch also triggers your natural production of collagen and elastin, the proteins involved in the structure and support of your vaginal tissues.

Together, this treatment tightens and firms the inner and outer structures of your vagina. With treatments from the MonaLisa Touch system, your most delicate skin rebuilds itself, giving you an increase in vaginal moisture and restoring elasticity to reverse atrophic vaginitis. 

The best part? Your treatment sessions only take about 5-10 minutes, and you won’t have to worry about anesthesia or a lengthy recovery time, the way you would after surgical repair. This means you can have your MonaLisa Touch session on your lunch break and get back to your normal activities immediately — including sexual intercourse. 

During your session, Rickie inserts a small probe into your vagina. The probe delivers the laser energy pulses, and you might feel a warming sensation or some slight vibrations, but no pain. After your treatments, you’ll experience noticeable improvements, including:

Everyone’s treatment plan varies based on personal needs, but most of our patients benefit from a series of three treatments plus a yearly touch-up session to make sure your vaginal tissues stay as healthy as possible.  

Learn more about the causes and treatments for vaginal atrophy by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with Rickie at Alpenglow Gynecology.

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