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. This results 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. It is usually associated with the decline of hormones at menopause. Vaginal dryness can also occur in 3-5% of users of certain low dose birth control pills.
The irritated tissue is more susceptible to infection, sore, raw, and sometimes bleeding. Intercourse is less desirable because of the associated pain. This then causes relationship difficulties.
What is the Natural Treatment for Vaginitis or Vaginal Dryness?
Natural treatment for atrophic vaginitis involves:
The use of vaginal lubricants (preferably something natural like coconut oil) reduces inflammation and prevents friction.
Healing and Soothing
Vitamin A, vitamin E and calendula used topically help to heal and soothe vaginal tissue.
Treatment of secondary infections and restoration of healthy probiotic bacteria keeps the vaginal tissue healthy.
Tests for vaginitis
If the woman’s menopausal status is uncertain, the following tests are done Day 3: LH, FSH, estradiol, day 21: progesterone, any time: total testosterone, and DHEAs. A vaginal swab determines if there is an infection with yeast, trichomonas, or Gardnerella. A PAP smear and ultrasound are done if there is any abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding.
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Authored by Dr Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND
Vaginitis or Vaginal Dryness Research
Bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and vulvovaginal candidiasis are the most common infectious causes of vaginitis… Atrophic vaginitis, a form of vaginitis caused by estrogen deficiency, produces symptoms of vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, discharge, and dyspareunia. Both systemic and topical estrogen treatments are effective. Allergic and irritant contact forms of vaginitis can also occur.
Source: Am Fam Physician. 2011 Apr 1;83(7):807-15. Vaginitis. Hainer BL, Gibson MV.