Vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and/or pain with sexual intercourse (know as dyspareunia) are common symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy. Changes in the vagina can also lead to an increased risk of various vaginal infections.
The majority of women will reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can occur earlier or later in life. It can last for as little as 2-5 years or with some women longer while some women have the symptoms well into old age. Oestrogen which is mostly produced by the ovaries declines as then menopause approaches. Not every woman will have the same symptoms or as severe but most will experience a number of symptoms commonly associated with the decline in hormone levels.
There are various treatments that women can try in order to keep the vagina more lubricated such as a vaginal moisturizer. These are usually available at the local pharmacy or even at the larger supermarkets. There are a number of popular brands.
Vaginal oestrogen is used effectively and this is usually prescribed by the doctor. It comes in various forms and is usually quite effective.
Bio-identical oestrogen is also prescribed by many doctors in the form of pessaries or cream.
Topical oestrogen therapy is the most common treatment for women with vaginal dryness due to low oestrogen levels. This type of therapy will replace some hormones in that are not being produced in your body. Ultimately this will help relieve vaginal symptoms, however, it will not increase the levels of oestrogen in your bloodstream as oral estrogen hormone therapy (HT).