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How do I deal with vaginal atrophy? — Ask Dr Jean

Ask Dr Jean 5 Feb 2021
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When it comes to women's health, there is no such thing as a silly question. Do you have a question you want answered, but have been too afraid or embarrassed to bring it up with your GP? Or you forgot to ask while you were in the doctor's surgery? Now, you can 'Ask Dr Jean'.

Answering your questions for this edition of 'Ask Dr Jean' is gynaecologist and Jean Hailes Medical Director, Dr Elizabeth Farrell AM (pictured below).

Question

I am a 56 year-old who went through premature menopause at 34 years of age. I am suffering from vaginal atrophy and can’t find any information on how to deal with this? Can you help?

Dr Elizabeth Farrell

Answer

Thank you for your question. Vaginal atrophy is a consequence of the menopause and the lack of oestrogen, leading to many changes, including vaginal dryness, loss of lubrication, painful or uncomfortable intercourse with thinning of the vaginal lining and sometimes narrowing of the vaginal entrance and shortening of the vagina.

There are many ways to improve vaginal dryness:

  1. Use a vaginal moisturiser. This is inserted vaginally about 3 times per week.
  2. For intercourse, use a good-quality lubricant. Natural lubricants include oils such as olive oil or sweet almond oil; however, if using condoms, note that these oils can cause them to break or tear.
  3. Vaginal oestrogen preparations such as Ovestin™ vaginal cream or pessaries or Vagifem low™ vaginal tablets. Vaginal oestrogen therapy improves bloodflow in the pelvis and increases vaginal secretions and the lining.

These are the main treatments recommended.

Adding 2 tablespoons of freshly ground linseed (a plant-based oestrogen) to your cereal daily may also help vaginal dryness.

This video explains the causes and treatments of premature and early menopause:

Read more about premature menopause.

Download the fact sheet.

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Read more about vulval and vaginal irritation and dryness.

Start here

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