Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
Because of your menopause, your body's estrogen hormone level is low. Estrogen causes the vagina to have a normal level of acidity, which permits the presence of appropriate normal flora (lactobacilli) in the vagina. Estrogen also keeps the tissue surrounding your vagina healthy, well-lubricated, and elastic.
When your estrogen is low, the vagina can develop a thinner and more fragile lining, which is easily irritated. This condition is named "atrophic vaginitis." Atrophic vaginitis can cause burning, dryness, itching, pain with sex, a feeling of pelvic pressure, and episodes of vaginal discharge. Some women who have atrophic vaginitis have urinary symptoms such as burning or a need to urinate frequently. Some women also notice a small amount of urine leakage during coughs or sneezes.
The most helpful treatment for vaginal dryness after menopause is estrogen. Although estrogen is a very reliable treatment, using estrogen after menopause can introduce some possible health risks. The health risks can be minimized if estrogen is used in a low dose directly in the vagina. Nonetheless, if your symptoms are very mild or if your symptoms have only been present for a short time, you may be interested in considering other ways to treat your symptoms first.