WHAT IS POSTMENOPAUSAL VAGINITIS?
A suffix of 'itis' means inflammation of the part to which 'itis' is added. Here
it means inflammation of the vagina. Vaginitis found in women after they have
attained Menopause. This is caused by lowered estrogen levels that upset the
vagina's normal hormone and pH balance. Unlike other forms of vaginitis,
Post-menopausal vaginitis is not contagious through sexual intercourse.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Severity of the symptoms varies greatly between individual women and from time
to time in the same woman.
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge, which is usually thin, whitish and sometimes
tinged with blood.
- Pain and itching around the vulva.
- Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse.
- Change in vaginal mucosa from pale-pink to
Certain bacteria normally inhabit the vagina. These cause infection when the
normal physiology of the vagina is disturbed. After menopause, the estrogen
level that helped maintain a normal vaginal environment decreases, leaving the
vagina more vulnerable to infection. The following conditions increase the
likelihood of post-menopausal vaginitis
- General poor health.
- Hot weather, non-ventilating clothing--especially underwear--or any other
condition that increases genital moisture, warmth and darkness, that foster the
growth of germs.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Illness that has lowered resistance.
- More frequent sexual intercourse.
HOW TO PREVENT
- Keep the genital area clean. Use plain unscented soap.
- Wear cotton panties. Avoid panties made from non-ventilating materials, such
- Don't sit around in wet clothing.
- After urination or stools, cleanse by wiping or washing from front to back
(vagina to anus) to prevent bacteria from anus entering vagina.
- Lose weight if overweight.
- If you have diabetes, adhere strictly to your treatment program and ensure
normal blood sugar levels.
- Ask your doctor about Hormone Replacement Therapy.
- Typical symptoms
- History and clinical examination (including pelvic exam) by a doctor.
- Laboratory studies, such as a Pap smear, and microscopic exam and culture of
the vaginal discharge.
Secondary bacterial infection in any pelvic organ.
Usually curable in 10 days with treatment.
- Follow the first 4 instructions under How to Prevent.
- If urinating causes burning:
- Urinate through a tubular device, such as a toilet-paper roll or plastic cup with the
end cut out.
- Urinate while bathing.
You may be prescribed:
- Topical or oral estrogen. If you use a cream or suppository, use a small
sanitary pad to protect clothing. Keep creams or suppositories in the
refrigerator. After treatment, ask your doctor whether you can begin treatment
quickly if the infection recurs.
- Other creams, ointments or suppositories to suppress the organisms causing
Avoid overexertion, heat and excessive sweating. Delay sexual relations until
you are well. Use lubricating jelly.
No special diet.
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, IF
- You are menopausal and notice symptoms of
- Symptoms persist longer than 1 week or worsen, despite treatment.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or swelling develops.
- After treatment, symptoms recur.