Focus on Vaginal Health: Self-Care During and After Menopause

During our reproductive years, we tend to be very focused on preventing pregnancy, preventing STDs, getting pregnant or being pregnant.asd But once we go through menopause, much of our health care needs change.

asd

Our focus shifts towards preventing and detecting diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers that become more prevalent with age. So, accordingly, our annual health maintenance exams change, too.asdYou may have heard that cervical cancer screening recommendations have changed dramatically over the years, meaning many women only need a pap smear (with screening for high-risk HPV) every 5 years. That is because cervical cancer becomes less common as we get older (after your 40s.)asd That being said, there is much more to a pelvic exam than just the pap. Even if you donasdt need a pap, we do recommend a gynecological exam every year to monitor for various health concerns such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal atrophy, menopausal symptoms, breast and pelvic masses, as well as breast, uterine, ovarian, and colon cancers.

asd

As the hormonal environment dramatically changes, so does the vaginal discharge and tissue quality in the vagina after menopause.asd With less estrogen, discharge becomes thicker and more scant, and the odor may change.asd Likewise, the tissues of the vagina and vulva become more thin and dry. asdThis can result in a variety of symptoms such as dryness, irritation, and odor which can be entirely normal, or could be a sign of certain common conditions such as bacterial or yeast infections, atrophic vaginitis, or other dermatologic conditions such as lichen sclerosis.asd An exam with an experienced health care provider can help you to distinguish normal postmenopausal change from abnormal conditions.

asd

Many women turn to over-the-counter products to try to manage these symptoms.asdasdWhile some products may provide temporary relief from dryness and odor, many may contain substances that are irritating to the delicate and increasingly sensitive tissues of the vagina and vulva.

asd

Previous generations were encouraged to use douching as a means to control some symptoms but today douching is specifically NOT recommended as this may push bacteria higher into the genital tract.asd If your symptoms do not improve fairly quickly, or if they worsen with the use of over-the-counter products, itasds important to get evaluated by a professional to determine the source of the symptoms and best treatment options.

asd

Vaginal atrophy is an extremely common condition affecting up to 50% of postmenopausal women.asd This is the thinning and scarring of the vaginal tissue due to lack of estrogen, which typically causes dryness and itching.asd This can have profound impact on daily quality of life, as well as interfere with sexual function.asd Over-the-counter lubricants and vaginal moisturizers can alleviate these symptoms for many women.asd The use of hormone replacement, especially topical intravaginal estrogen, is a very effective treatment for more severe cases that are unresponsive to more conservative measures.asd Ultimately, there is not necessarily a way to prevent atrophic changes, but early recognition and early treatment are paramount for preventing more severe scarring and symptoms later.

  2 Comments
Posted 03 March, 2017 | Jean
For some reason I smell everyday and I tried douche for a couple days and it was fine, but now it's smells again every day. And I noticed my insides ate coming out and I have to push them back in. Help?
Posted 06 December, 2016 | DR. OKO
Are you experiencing VAGINAL ODOR OR VAGINAL DISCHARGE? Contact Dr. OKO through Email: okoherbalhome@gmail.com or Tel: 2349077109445 for treatment once and for all. Take away shame and call or write him to save your self from embarrassment.

Add a comment

Join Us Print

the power of
“me too!”

Take comfort in knowing you're not alone, while getting informed and inspired.

Watch Videos

Find Your
Perfect PRODUCT

Answer a few quick questions to find the right protection or prevention, plus free samples and coupons.

GET STARTED

More Coverage
Means Less Worry

With a 75% Wider Back, Poise® Overnight Pads are designed to help protect against leaks while lying down, for worry-free nighttime protection.

LEARN MORE