Are vaginal symptoms common during the menopause?

Vaginal and urinary symptoms are very common during the menopause, but unfortunately many women do not seek help about them.

Hormonal changes that occur during the menopause lead to a reduction in the level of estrogen. Estrogen is important for keeping the tissues around the vagina and bladder strong and healthy.

When the estrogen levels fall, these tissues become thinner and delicate. They also produce less secretions. This commonly causes symptoms of itching, burning and dryness, and can often mean sex becomes painful. It can also lead to urinary symptoms such as cystitis.

This condition is known as ‘genitourinary syndrome of the menopause’ but you may also hear it referred to as vaginal or urogenital atrophy.

There are things that can help and you don’t have to put up with it!

There are vaginal moisturisers that are available to buy that can be used daily to improve symptoms. There are also lubricants that can be used during sex to make things more comfortable.

And if these are not enough your GP can prescribe you a type of estrogen that you apply directly to the vaginal tissues (either as a vaginal tablet or cream). Although the patient information leaflet will describe these as a form of HRT (and therefore list all the risks associated with HRT!), they are generally very safe for the majority of women to use for as long as they need to as only a tiny amount of the hormone is actually absorbed by your body!

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