What is Vaginal Atrophy?

What is Vaginal Atrophy?

There’s no doubt that as we age, our bodies change in many ways. And for women, this includes our vaginal health and a condition called vaginal atrophy, which can trigger a variety of unpleasant symptoms. 

Although most women experience vaginal atrophy during or after menopause, less than 25% talk to their doctor about treatment. But thanks to advances in medical technology, treatments exist to improve vaginal health and minimize or eliminate symptoms. 

At Urological Associates, our board-certified providers want you to feel comfortable and confident sharing your symptoms with your doctor because a fast and pain-free treatment can help. Our team uses an innovative therapy called the MonaLisa Touch® to help women in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area find relief from the symptoms of vaginal atrophy.   

What is vaginal atrophy, and how can I tell if I have it?

Vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis occurs when the walls of your vagina thin and lose lubrication. It happens when your body produces less estrogen, like during and after menopause, which is why women over 50 are the most commonly affected group. 

In fact, it’s sometimes referred to as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) since at least 50% of menopausal women experience symptoms of GSM. Researchers think many more women are affected but don’t report their symptoms, believing they just have to live with vaginal atrophy. 

When your levels of estrogen drop, it can create a host of issues, including vaginal dryness, thinning of your vaginal walls, and loss of elasticity and tone. Hormonal changes can also affect your skin and change the external parts of your vagina (the labia majora and vulva), making them wrinkle and sag. 

Other symptoms of vaginal atrophy include: 

Since it isn’t always easy to tell if vaginal atrophy or if another condition is causing your symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your provider at Urological Associates if you have any signs of the condition. 

Do younger women experience vaginal atrophy?

While women over 50 are the most likely to develop vaginal atrophy, women of all ages experiencing a decline in estrogen can also develop the condition. This includes women: 

In addition, because sexual intercourse increases blood flow to the vagina and helps it maintain elasticity, women who don’t engage in regular sexual activity can develop vaginal atrophy or experience more severe cases. 

Is there help for vaginal atrophy?

In decades past, the only treatments for vaginal atrophy included hormone replacement therapy or painful surgery. Now, thanks to advances in medical science, it’s possible to restore your vaginal health quickly and comfortably using laser technology. 

At Urological Associates, we’re pleased to offer MonaLisa Touch fractional laser therapy to women struggling with issues related to vaginal atrophy. This minimally invasive treatment reverses atrophic vaginitis to restore your vaginal health by gently heating the tissues in your vagina.

The heat from the laser doesn’t cause you any discomfort or damage the surrounding tissues, but it stimulates your body’s natural healing response and increases your production of collagen and elastin, two proteins essential for the structure and support of your tissues.

This boost in collagen and elastin tightens and firms the inner and outer structures of your vagina. With the MonaLisa Touch, even your most delicate skin rebuilds itself, giving you an increase in vaginal moisture while restoring elasticity to reverse vaginal atrophy. 

Each MonaLisa treatment session only takes about 5-10 minutes, and it doesn’t require any anesthesia or recovery time. This means you can have your MonaLisa Touch session, then get back to your normal daily activities right away — including sex! 

During your session, your Urological Associates provider inserts a small probe into your vagina. The probe delivers CO2 laser energy pulses, which may cause you to feel slight vibrations and a warming sensation, but no pain.

Most patients notice an improvement right away, but we usually recommend a series of treatments for the best possible results. Your provider creates a customized plan for you based on your symptoms and physical examination, but most patients benefit from three treatments spaced six weeks apart.  

Don’t suffer from the frustrating effects of vaginal atrophy! Reclaim your vaginal health and contact our compassionate team at Urological Associates by calling our office in Charlottesville, Virginia, or booking an appointment online.   

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