Vaginal atrophy - Symptoms and causes

Vaginal Atrophy: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Vaginal Atrophy - Diagnosis And Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


About 1.8 billion women menstruate per month in the world and deal with health problems due to a lack of hygiene. Vaginal atrophy can occur for many reasons, including less hygiene, which causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms for many women and can also lead to a stressful life.  Vaginal atrophy causes the lining of your vagina to become drier and thinner.  This condition is more frequent after menopause because the ovaries decrease the production of estrogen (Hormone). The thinning of the lining of the vagina causes inflammation and can lead to problems such as urinary tract infections (UTIs).

How do I know if someone is dealing with Vaginal atrophy?

Some common symptoms

vaginal atrophy

What are the causes of Vaginal atrophy?

During menopause, cellular changes lead to vulvar (part of the female reproductive organ) and vaginal shrinkage. Women frequently observe changes in the cell structure of their intimate parts as a result of a drop in estrogen production. These symptoms cause biological changes, which cause pain and other difficulties.

Changes in estrogen hormone levels enhance vaginal dryness and soreness by reducing blood supply to the vaginal region.

The reasons for the decrease in estrogen levels are:

1. Genetic conditions.

Many conditions can lead to a decrease in estrogen levels, such as

      1. Swyer Syndrome (an individual with Swyer syndrome has female sexual organs and undeveloped ovaries at birth)
      2. Turner Syndrome (the genetic disorder Turner Syndrome, which can result in infertility and other health issues)
      3. Premature ovarian failure (The disease known as premature ovarian failure, which can result in infertility and other health issues, is when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40).

2. Age (In the ovaries of women, the quantity of eggs gradually diminishes with age, her ovaries eventually release less estrogen. The production of estrogen may be reduced as a result, which may result in several symptoms)

3. Disorders in eating 

Eating disorders can affect estrogen levels, causing menstrual irregularities, infertility, and other health problems by interfering with the proper functioning of the hormone control system.

4. Smoking ( Smoking is one of the factors that decrease the production of estrogen levels in females; the reason behind this is that smoke promotes ovary aging, which leads to a decrease in the production of eggs.

5. Excessive exercise or psychological stress

Exercise can promote both physical and emotional health, but it can also lower estrogen levels, resulting in hypothalamic amenorrhea (medical condition)

This disorder develops when exercise disrupts the pituitary gland’s (located in the brain) signal to the ovaries, causing menstrual cycles to be delayed and raising the chance of developing difficulties in premenstrual females.

Vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis Diagnosis

A doctor can identify vaginal atrophy through a physical examination, which includes a pelvic exam to look at your vagina and cervix, a study of the patient’s symptoms, and perhaps certain testing.

Some blood tests that a healthcare provider can suggest to diagnose atrophic vaginitis are

What preventive measures should we take to avoid atrophic vaginitis?

What are the treatments related to Vaginal atrophy?

Treatment for vaginal atrophy depends on the patient’s medical history and severity of symptoms. Common therapies include topical creams, hormone therapy, and moisturizers. 

Lifestyle changes and good hygiene practices may also be employed. Consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial for optimal treatment.

Different kinds of treatment for Vaginal atrophy include:

Topical therapy

      1. Symptoms are rapidly and efficiently relieved by applying topical estrogen cream straight to the vagina. Additionally, it lessens the amount of estrogen that enters the bloodstream.
      2. Every two to three days, moisturize your vagina using a water-based product. Compared to lubricants, their effects last longer.
      3. Use of vaginal suppositories sometimes leads to allergic reactions such as skin rashes, swelling on the surface of the skin, hives, etc 

Use of lubricants

Using natural lubricants like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera extract can help keep the area moisturized. These can help with Atrophic vaginitis.

Use of local anesthetic

Local anesthetics can relieve itching for some time.

Common side effects related to local anesthetics, if used for a longer duration, are skin soreness, skin pH imbalance, rashes on the skin, etc.

Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) restores estrogen levels, treating vaginal atrophy and reducing dryness, itching, and soreness. Consult a healthcare professional for safe and suitable treatment, available in various ways.

Using injection

 Estradiol cypionate and Estradiol valerate injections are commonly used by doctors to increase the production of estrogen.

What are the foods that increase estrogen levels naturally?

Phytoestrogens, which are organic plant substances that have properties akin to estrogen, are present in a wide variety of diets. In some natural medicines, they can also be discovered.

Your body can produce or utilize estrogen more effectively if you take certain vitamins and minerals. Increase your intake of these foods or take supplements if necessary.

1. Soya and other legumes

Soya is one of the richest sources of isoflavones, which increase the phytoestrogen level in the body.

Soy products include soy milk, tofu, etc., and legumes include peanuts, beans, and chickpeas.

2. Garlic oil supplements

Garlic contains a good amount of phytoestrogen and helps treat postmenopausal conditions in females

3. Soy Seeds

Flaxseed lignans may have negligible estrogenic effects, but studies suggest they may boost estrogen levels in postmenopausal women. Consult a healthcare professional before implementing these changes.

4. Green vegetables

Numerous elements found in green vegetables, including spinach, broccoli, and kale, may help boost females’ natural estrogen levels. 

As part of a balanced diet, consuming a range of green vegetables may maintain normal estrogen levels and general well-being. Green vegetables are also rich in antioxidants.


Symptoms and medical issues that women may experience as a result of low estrogen levels can vary.

The hormone estrogen is crucial for the health of the heart, the bones, and the brain, among other biological processes. 

If you have symptoms of low estrogen levels or are worried about your general health, it’s crucial to speak with a healthcare professional to find out the underlying cause and the best course of action.

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