Post-Menopause Vaginal Changes: What To Expect

Women in menopausal age are prone to vaginal issues. Read the article as doctor addresses them.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Oct 14, 2022 15:10 IST
Post-Menopause Vaginal Changes: What To Expect

The vagina evolves at different times in life. There could be some noticeable changes in your vagina throughout your lofe, particularly just before and following menopause. We reached out to Dr. Shalini Vijay, Senior Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar, to examine some strategies for enhancing vulvar and vaginal comfort at various stages of life. 

What changes does your body undergo around menopause?

When the ovaries cease releasing an egg every month and the menstrual cycle has completely stopped, it is known as menopause.

After a normal reduction in reproductive hormones, which typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, this occurrence takes place. Based on individual characteristics including genetics, prior pregnancies, physical activity, and body weight, the precise date of menopause varies.

Eventually, as you go through menopausal changes, your monthly periods will end. The menstrual cycle lengthens and becomes more erratic a few years before menopause, eventually lengthening to 60 days or more. Premenopause or the menopausal transition are terms used to describe this phase.

Also Read: What Causes Varicose Veins During Menopause

The last menstruation a person has before menopause is a one-time occurrence. Only after a year without a period is it obvious that this was the last menstrual cycle. Additionally, it marks the end of perimenopause, which is the period just before menopause. The menopausal transition marks the start of perimenopause, which lasts for 12 months following the last menstrual cycle.

Vaginal Changes after Menopause

Postmenopause is the period of time following the last menstrual cycle. There are several ways that menopause can happen. Some of those ways are mentioned below:

  • Naturally between the ages of 45 and 58 (5% of persons have early menopause between the ages of 40 and 45)
  • Due to uterine resection surgery (hysterectomy)
  • After chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • A major cause being ovarian insufficiency

A decrease in oestrogen levels is one of the most significant effects of menopause. This causes specific symptoms, which people might feel in different ways.

The following are examples of some physiological changes associated with menopause:

  • Weight gain - During the transition from premenopause to menopause, it's typical to put on two to five pounds. This occurs because of the drop in oestrogen levels.
  • Hot flashes - These are a common occurrence, frequently accompanied by flushing and light perspiration.
  • Insomnia - Hormonal changes might sometimes make it harder to fall asleep, leading to insomnia.
  • Hormonal fluctuations - They can cause mood swings that alternate between happiness, melancholy, and depression.
  • Bone alterations - A decrease in bone density might lead to an increased risk of fractures.
  • Changes in sex drive - A decrease in oestrogen reduces sex drive (libido).
  • Memory problems - Memory problems during menopause may raise the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Along with these symptoms, menopausal women commonly deal with exhaustion, depression, joint and muscle pain, headaches, a racing heart, vaginal dryness, eyesight changes, more advanced skin ageing, weaker muscles, and problems with bladder control.

Vaginal changes after Menopause

Oestrogen preserves the vagina's suppleness and lubrication before menopause. The lining can extend during sexual activity and birthing because of its thick folds. The vagina frequently becomes thin, dry, and less elastic following menopause due to the large decline in oestrogen levels. Atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy are the medical terms for this illness.

People who develop this condition may experience vaginal soreness, itchiness in and around the vagina, dryness and irritation, tightening or shortening of the vagina, tightness or discharge from the vagina, chafing and burning, inflammation of the vaginal walls, decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity, and/or more frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTI). In addition to causing discomfort and bleeding during sex or vaginal penetration, all these symptoms (a medical condition technically known as dyspareunia).

The vagina is normally acidic prior to menopause, but it becomes more alkaline after menopause, increasing the risk of UTIs. Postmenopausal women with low oestrogen levels experience an increase in vaginitis and UTIs.

Post Menopausal vaginal changes

Some persons who suffer menopausal pain report a decrease in their desire for sex. Changes in sex drive might also be influenced by vaginal symptoms.

In conclusion, each person experiences vaginal changes around menopause differently. These indications are frequently present:

  • Vaginal lining thinning, dryness, and loss of elasticity
  • Decreased lubrication of the cervix
  • Vaginal wasting
  • The discomfort experienced during sexual contact
  • Increased possibility of vulvovaginal tears during sexual activity
  • Slender and smooth external genitalia
  • Prolapse of a pelvic organ (bulges in the walls of the vagina)
  • A lack of pubic hair

Conclusion

People going through menopause have significant physical changes, particularly in the vagina. Vaginal atrophy, which can cause itching, burning, discharge, and discomfort in a postmenopausal vagina, can occur. You could experience some discomfort during sex when the vaginal lining thins; this is a condition known as dyspareunia. Around menopause, the vulva may also shorten, and you may have less pubic hair.

There are several choices if you want to get assistance with these adjustments. To increase your vulvar and vaginal comfort throughout menopause, your doctor may suggest various treatments such as topical oestrogen, vaginal lubricants, and lotions.

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