Public Release: 

Atrophic vaginitis -- a common and treatable condition for women past menopause

Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- About 40 percent of women past menopause have atrophic vaginitis, an inflammation of or an irritation of the vaginal tissues and a decrease in lubrication. The often-overlooked problem can be relieved, and with early care, be prevented, according to the January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

The condition results from reduced estrogen levels. Menopause, some medications and breast-feeding all can cause reduced estrogen levels. Symptoms appear gradually and may include: vaginal dryness; vaginal itching or burning in the vulva; irritation or pain during intercourse; light bleeding following intercourse; pain after urination; and a watery vaginal discharge.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about atrophic vaginitis. Estrogen replacement therapy is the most common treatment. Your doctor also can recommend ways to minimize symptoms such as:

* Avoid chemical irritants (douches, bubble baths and feminine deodorant products)

* Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear during the day and none at night to promote air circulation

* Avoid wearing pantyhose if you are experiencing vaginal itching

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