ZocdocAnswersHow does menopause affect the vagina?

Question

How does menopause affect the vagina?

How should I expect menopause to be affecting my vagina? I am 58 and ever since hitting menopause I've found that my vagina has become very dry and somewhat itchy. It's never too bad, but's bad enough to make me wonder if menopause is the only problem.

Answer

Any time you have develop any issue in your genital area that causes problems in your every day life, you should seek attention from a qualified health care professional. In this case, it is probably okay for you to see a primary care physician such as a family doctor or a specialist such as an OBGYN. Estrogen, one of the main hormones that is missing during menopause, is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the vaginal wall and producing lubrication. Therefore, your vagina seeming dry and itchy is very likely secondary to menopause. There are other possibilities such vulvar lichen sclerosis which would need to be ruled out by your doctor. If your symptoms are due to menopause, then you can use a cream or lotion that has some estrogen in it, if your doctor approves. This can help your symptoms without resulting in increased estrogen in your body, something that can increase your risk for breast cancer. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or OBGYN, whoever you see now for your feminine health. He or she can take a more detailed history of your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. Perhaps you doctor will recommend an estrogen based cream to improve the health of your vagina and lubrication for sexual activity. Good luck.

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