It’s a painful condition that can leave you itching, even burning down there – and no, it’s not a s*xually transmitted infection!
Just when you thought you had enough to worry about after realising having a “depressed” v*gina is a thing; women are also at risk of vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy is a common but treatable condition that causes the vaginal wall to thin.
And while it can be a problem for women of any age, it’s more likely to affect women who are going through, or have been through, the menopause.
This is because the body produces less oestrogen than normal, which has a knock on effect on how the vaginal wall behaves.
Vaginal atrophy can also occur in women who have had been treated for cancer, especially in those who have had hormone treatment for breast cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Common symptoms include discharge, burning, itching, difficulty peeing and pain during s*x.
This might seem like enough to put you off having s*x for good, but regular orgasms – from your partner or a bit of self love – can actually improve the nasty symptoms.
And the key is the increased blood flow to your nether regions when you climax – it works almost like a “work out” down there.
Louise Mazanti, a London-based s*x therapist, said: “It is very important that we have a healthy s*x life with a partner or with ourselves.
“People very often say, ‘I don’t have a s*x life because I don’t have a partner’. But forget about that and have a sexual relationship with yourself.
“It’s about using massage and touching the tissue so that it becomes alive, the blood flows and the tissue becomes elastic. It is really about exercising the tissue.”
Increasing blood flow helps keep the tissue boosts blood flow and in turn oxygen supply to the v*gina, which means it is less likely to become inflamed, thin or dry.
According to Mazanti, if cells are not getting enough oxygen they cannot eliminate waste from the tissue, which can cause inflammation that leads to problems such as vaginal atrophy.
A build-up of toxins can also stop vital nutrients getting to the cells, which can leave the tissue slightly weaker and thinner.
Mazanti added said losing the ability to have sex is not just a physical problem, it can have some serious side effects on a person’s mental health.
She added: “When your ability to have s*x and your desire to have s*x decreases, it is a massive change in identity.
“You start to question ‘who am I now if I am not the s*xual woman I used to be?’. It can cause depression and an identity crisis and deep consideration of an existential nature.”
What causes the condition?
Vaginal atrophy is generally caused by a decrease in the production of the female s*x hormone oestrogen.
Oestrogen is the main hormone that regulates a woman’s menstrual cycle and controls ovulation.
It is also responsible for thickening the vaginal wall and causes it to release mucous once a girl hits puberty.
So if you stop producing oestrogen, the walls of your v*gina can become thin and dry.
How can vaginal atrophy be treated?
Vaginal moisturisers and lubricants can be used to treat dryness and help improve your s*x life.
You may have to apply moisturiser every two to three days but the effects usually last longer than lube.
A lubricant is used mainly to make s*x easier and more enjoyable.
If symptoms don’t improve, over-the-counter oestrogen therapy may be recommended.
Creams can be inserted into the v*gina daily to restore the tissue.
Oestrogen tablets may also be recommended to help restore the body’s natural levels.
Source: The Sun
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