Medical Conditions | Uncategorized

Vagina, atrophy of

Shrinkage of the mucous membrane lining of the vagina. After the menopause the oestrogen production of the ovaries decreases. All the internal sexual organs become smaller and the layer of mucous membrane in the vagina becomes thinner. If the ovaries are removed or irradiated, the same occurs because no oestrogens are produced. The reduced layer of mucous membrane can cause smarting and lead to pain during sexual intercourse. The membrane bleeds easily and likelihood of infection is increased. Discharge, itching and sometimes loss of blood occur if infection sets in. An internal examination should be carried out in such cases, because these are also symptoms of cancer of the uterus or cervix. Atrophy of the tissue around the neck of the bladder can result in the symptoms of cystitis. Vaginal atrophy after the menopause is treated by applying oestrogen cream to the vaginal mucous membrane. Oestrogen tablets may also be prescribed. In addition to the usual side-effects of oestrogens, menstruation begins again if the womb has not been removed. If irradiation or removal of both ovaries is the cause of vaginal atrophy, the sudden shortage of oestrogens is compensated for with oestrogen tablets. These are often combined with progesterone, the other hormone normally produced by the ovaries.

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