What is Atrophic Vaginitis?
Atrophic vaginitis is a common problem in postmenopausal women. It is the result of low estrogen levels in the vagina. Without appropriate levels of estrogen the “good bacteria” (lactobacillus) counts decline sometimes resulting in elevation of bad bacteria. This increases the likelihood of recurrent bladder infections. Lubrication of the vagina dramatically decreases with lower estrogen levels and the lining becomes thin and inflamed. This leads to pain with intercourse. Painful sex is often the leading symptom that prompts women to seek treatment.
Causes of Atrophic Vaginitis
While atrophic vaginitis is most commonly a problem with postmenopausal women it may also occur transiently in breast feeding women. It could also be a significant problem in women with a history of cancer following chemotherapy or pelvic radiation. Both result in potential damage to the ovaries. With declining ovarian function comes declining estrogen levels followed by atrophic vaginitis.
Treatments for Atrophic Vaginitis
Over-the-counter and Prescription Solutions
Initially women are able to manage with:
- Vaginal moisturizers (Replens or Vagisil)
- Vaginal lubricant (glycerin-free versions of Astroglide, K-Y Intrigue, others)
- Vaginal Ph balancing gels (Refresh, Luvena)
For some women this may be all that is needed.
For many women the problem progresses and requires medical therapy. The most common therapy is local estrogen cream, tablets or an estrogen ring that is placed in the vagina. Local estrogen therapy is highly effective when used continuously and regularly. For those who find the current treatment options ineffective or would like to avoid hormones and drugs; there are new and innovative procedures to combat this problem.
What our patients say:
Dr. Ashford is the most honest and thoughtful provider I've ever worked with. He explains decision making with clarity and ease without making you feel overwhelmed or small. I'm someone with a boat load of anxiety and Dr. Ashford and the team here at MNWC are truly sensitive to my needs and want to see their patients reach their wellness goals. I'm beyond thankful and wish I could begin to describe the kind of gratitude that comes with that but for now I'd just say thank you so much!
New Procedures for the Treatment of Atrophic Vaginitis
Several fast and painless in-office procedures that rejuvenate vaginal tissue are now available. Two such procedures; Femilift and ThermiVA are offered at Minnesota Women’s Care. We also offer O-Shot®, a platelet injection, that is often used in combination with Femilift and ThermiVa.
Femilift and ThermiVa procedures are normally provided through 3 short sessions separated 4 weeks apart. It’s relatively painless and no anesthesia or painkillers are required. Before a woman is allowed to take part in the procedure she must undergo the customary pelvic exam. If everything checks out correctly, the procedures can be performed. They provide energy to the vaginal surfaces that result in increased collagen formation and lubrication. Most women report decreased pain with sex, more enjoyable sex, decreased urinary leakage and less frequent bladder infections.
What is the difference between Femilift and ThermiVa?
Both procedures are safe and pain-free. Both are based on technologies that have been used for many years in medical and cosmetic procedures. The difference is in the kind of technology that's used.
Femilift uses laser therapy to restore tissue function.
Read more about Femilift here.
RF Energy and Heat
ThermiVa uses RF technology to restore tissue.
Read more about ThermiVa here.
Dr. Ashford will make a determination which procedure will be most effective for you and your particular needs after your examination.
About the O-Shot®
We now offer O-Shot - a non-invasive therapeutic treatment for women suffering from incontinence and anorgasmia - the inability to achieve orgasm with sexual intercourse. This particular therapy has had a significant amount of media attention in the past year and has become increasingly popular with many women.
The O-Shot is an injection of platelet rich plasma around the clitoris, the urethra and vagina. It results in improved nerve and collagen growth as a result of the stimulation provided by the platelets. Often, the O-Shot is combined with Femilift or ThemiVa to get maximum results.
Your "life line"
Women find that the combination of therapies improves vaginal lubrication and sensation. This is especially true in post-menopausal women who have experienced vaginal atrophy and cannot use or do not want to use hormones. For the woman suffering from this condition following menopause, radiation or chemotherapy, these procedures can be a life line. To learn more contact us at Minnesota Women’s Care 651-600-3035.