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Vaginal Atrophy: Non-hormonal or Hormonal Treatment?

While vaginal atrophy may sound hopeless, it’s not. There are several things you can do to offset the thinning, inflammation, and dryness that comes with lowered estrogen, a common occurrence in post-menopausal women and others. 

Award-winning doctor, Richard Farnam, MD, specializes in robotic gynecologic surgery and women’s pelvic medicine at his Texas Urogynecology & Laser Surgery Center in El Paso, Texas. One of our country’s first board-certified specialists in urogynecology, Dr. Farnam helps patients facing urinary issues and gynecological problems, such as vaginal atrophy, at his state-of-the-art medical center.

Symptoms, Causes, & Solutions for Vaginal Atrophy

The main symptoms of vaginal atrophy include itching, dryness, incontinence, decreased sexual desire, and even lowered self-esteem. It can be caused by:

  • Childbirth
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, which attacks our body’s moisture-producing cells
  • Pre-menopausal removal of the ovaries
  • Breastfeeding
  • Radiation or chemotherapy treatments
  • Anti-estrogen medications prescribed for endometriosis, fibroids, or other issues

Dr. Farnam treats your condition in two ways:

Hormonal Treatments 

  • Creams and gels applied externally to the skin
  • Skin patches that carry hormones into your system
  • Osphena tablets taken orally, which work like estrogen to thicken vaginal walls
  • Hormones Estrace and Premarin, which you apply directly to your vaginal tissue
  • Vaginal estrogen ring or tablets, which fit right into your vagina

Nonhormonal Choices

Many women cannot take estrogen due to certain health conditions, such as estrogen-sensitive cancer or previous blood clots. Dr. Farnam offers a variety of non-hormonal options to improve vaginal atrophy, such as vaginal moisturizers or FemiLift Vaginal Laser Therapy. 

FemiLift Vaginal Laser Therapy 

This revolutionary laser increases blood flow within your vaginal walls. The minimally invasive procedure works wonders on stress and urge incontinence and other symptoms of vaginal atrophy.

Dr. Farnam or our nurse practitioner, Vilma Bohlmann, MSN-FNP-C, apply this painless laser directly into your vagina. In just three sessions spread across a three-month period, patients experience:

  • An increase in collagen production
  • Improvement in stress incontinence
  • More sexual feeling in the area
  • Less painful intercourse
  • Better lubrication

Further advice for vaginal dryness

If your condition is mild, Dr. Farnam may suggest water-based vaginal moisturizers or over-the-counter lubricants. Natural products, such as vitamin E suppositories and aloe vera, even coconut or olive oil, can add moisture.

Use it or lose it

Women who remain sexually active can maintain good blood flow and muscle tone in the area. It’s also important to avoid products that may increase dryness, such as:

  • Hot bubble baths
  • Scented soaps
  • Lotions
  • Douches

Your hormonal life cycle

Throughout your life, your body undergoes myriad of hormonal changes, primarily related to estrogen.

During puberty, estrogen levels increase and vaginal walls thicken. The area’s pH levels change as well, making the area more susceptible to infection.

In childbirth, estrogen also increases. 

After menopause, your circulating estrogen levels greatly drop, causing a decrease in collagen and elastin, which may result in vaginal atrophy.

We’re here to help

Up to 40% of postmenopausal women suffer from issues related to vaginal atrophy, although only around one-third of them discuss the condition with their doctor. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to diagnosing and treating women’s health concerns. If you suffer from dryness or pain due to vaginal atrophy or other gynecological condition, Dr. Farnam or our Nurse Practitioner at Texas Urogynecology & Laser Surgery Center gladly discuss your concerns. Speak up and call today.