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Atrophic Vaginitis: Dry, Irritated, Inflamed Vaginal Tissue

Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) and vaginal dryness are common complaints for women around perimenopause and menopause.  As hormones like estrogen and testosterone decline, the health of the vaginal tissue suffers resulting in thinning of the skin, decreased lubrication, and increased friction with intercourse or inserting a tampon, even walking can become irritating.  Atrophic vaginitis refers to inflammation of the vagina due to atrophy or weakening of the vaginal tissue that is usually associated with hormonal decline.   Vaginal dryness can also occur in 3-5% of users of certain low dose birth control pills.

The irritated tissue can become more susceptible to infection, sore, raw, and sometimes bleeding.  Intercourse becomes less desirable because of the associated pain, which can cause relationship difficulties.

Natural treatment for atrophic vaginitis involves the use of vaginal lubricants (preferably something natural like coconut oil), supporting optimal hormone production even into menopause, vitamin A, vitamin E and calendula can be used topically to help heal and soothe vaginal tissue, treatment of secondary infections and restoration of healthy probiotic bacteria that should populate the vagina and keep the tissue healthy. Vitamins, minerals, diet, and herbs can be used to balance hormones and support hormone sensitive tissue health.

Tests for atrophic vaginitis: if menopausal status is uncertain, the following testing can be done Day 3: LH, FSH, estradiol, day 21: progesterone, any time: total testosterone, and DHEAs.  A vaginal swab should be done if infection with yeast, trichomonas, or Gardnerella is suspected.  A PAP smear and ultrasound should be done in the event of any abnormal bleeding.