• What Are the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments of Vaginal Atrophy?

    Atrophic vaginitis, or vaginal atrophy , is a condition that urologists most often diagnose in women who are already in menopause, but it may also occur at other stages of a woman’s life. Vaginal atrophy is characterized by the thinning and inflammation of the tissues in the vaginal wall, which can cause painful symptoms and sexual dysfunction. Although these issues can be distressing, women should be aware that effective medical treatments are available.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Vaginal atrophy is a common cause of vaginal dryness, burning, itching, and unusual discharge. Many women also experience urinary symptoms, such as having the urgent need to urinate. A burning sensation may occur with urination and women may develop urinary incontinence. A patient’s history may reflect the increased occurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Sexual intercourse can become uncomfortable or painful and some women may notice light bleeding or spotting afterward. As a result of these problems, it’s not unusual for women with vaginal atrophy to experience sexual dysfunction such as the loss of libido and orgasm problems. Marital distress may develop.

    Causes and Risk Factors

    The underlying cause of vaginal atrophy is a reduction in estrogen levels, which is why the condition most often affects post-menopausal women and those who are in perimenopause. A substantial decline in estrogen levels may also occur as a result of the surgical removal of the ovaries, cancer treatments, or breastfeeding. Certain factors may increase the risk of vaginal atrophy, including smoking, the lack of sexual activity, and the absence of vaginal births in the patient’s medical history.

    Treatment Options

    Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one option for restoring hormonal balance, but it’s generally advisable to consider other treatments first due to the risks of HRT. Women with mild vaginal atrophy may get good results with vaginal moisturizers and water-based lubricants. Women with more severe symptoms might consider drug-free laser therapy, which can provide relief after the first treatment.

    The Women’s Institute for Sexual Health (WISH) at Urology Associates, P.C. connects women to caring urology specialists. We treat every patient with the utmost care to sensitivity and confidentiality. If you are experiencing a sexual health problem and live in Nashville, contact us today at (855) 901-1338.

  • Exploring the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments of Vaginal Atrophy

    Vaginal atrophy, also referred to as atrophic vaginitis, is a sexual health problem that occurs in response to changing hormone levels. This condition is characterized by the thinning and drying out of the vaginal walls. These vaginal walls also become inflamed. If you suspect you may be suffering from this type of sexual dysfunction, consider requesting a referral to a urologist.


    Women with vaginal atrophy typically experience symptoms such as painful sexual intercourse, reduced vaginal lubrication, and light bleeding following sexual intercourse. Some women may also notice genital itching, unusual vaginal discharge, vaginal dryness and burning, and more frequent urinary tract infections. Urinary symptoms of vaginal atrophy can include frequent and urgent urination, burning with urination, and urinary incontinence.


    The vaginal tissues need a steady supply of estrogen, a hormone, to keep the vaginal walls elastic and robust. Vaginal atrophy occurs when the body no longer produces enough estrogen. This change is associated with menopause, although women may also suffer from vaginal atrophy because of breastfeeding. Other possible causes include pelvic radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgical menopause, and hormonal treatment for breast cancer. Some factors may increase the risk that a woman will develop vaginal atrophy. These include the lack of sexual activity, since sexual activity increases blood flow to the area and encourages elasticity of the vaginal tissues. Smoking can also increase the risk, as can never having given birth vaginally.


    Women with mild vaginal atrophy may benefit from the application of certain products designed to restore vaginal lubrication. Other women might consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Some urology centers may offer advanced technology to treat vaginal atrophy, such as the MonaLisa Touch laser therapy system. Many women undergoing laser therapy enjoy significant improvements in their symptoms in just three short sessions.

    The Women’s Institute for Sexual Health (WISH) at Urology Associates, P.C. provides confidential, sensitive care to women with sexual dysfunction in Tennessee. Our providers rely on the latest research and medical technology to diagnose and treat sexual health issues for women. Call us at (855) 901-1338 to request a confidential consultation.

  • Understanding Common Triggers of Vaginal Atrophy

    Vaginal atrophy, sometimes referred to as atrophic vaginitis, is characterized by the inflammation of the vaginal walls. The tissues become drier and thinner than usual, which can lead to painful sexual intercourse. In turn, this complication can lead to loss of libido. Like other forms of sexual dysfunction , this condition is treatable by a urologist.

    Life Stages

    Vaginal atrophy is associated with declining levels of estrogen in the female body . At certain stages of life, estrogen production naturally declines. When a woman reaches menopause, estrogen production is quite minimal. In the years leading up to menopause, known as perimenopause, estrogen production generally declines. However, it usually does so in an irregular and sporadic fashion. The result is that the vaginal walls are no longer as elastic.

    Reproductive Choices

    While the evidence is not necessarily conclusive, it is thought that women who have never given birth vaginally may be more likely to develop vaginal atrophy compared to women who have experienced vaginal births. It is also possible to develop vaginal atrophy due to breastfeeding. Lactation-induced vaginal atrophy is typically accompanied by reduced libido and painful intercourse. Unfortunately, it’s commonly misdiagnosed or left untreated because it’s easy to mistake lactation-induced vaginal atrophy for the other typical changes that are characteristic of the postpartum period, such as sleeplessness and stress.

    Medical Interventions

    Sometimes, medical interventions are to blame for vaginal atrophy. Although cancer treatment can save lives, it may also sometimes cause vaginal atrophy. Women with cancerous tumors that are sensitive to hormone levels may experience a decline in estrogen due to cancer treatments. Estrogen levels may also decline because of radiation therapy directed at the pelvic area, surgical removal of the ovaries, and chemotherapy.

    Urology Associates, P.C. is your source for sexual dysfunction solutions in Tennessee. We treat every patient with the sensitivity, compassion, and confidentiality she deserves. If you have concerns about your sexual health, give us a call today at (855) 901-1338 to speak with a friendly staff member.