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Atrophic vaginitis occurs when the vagina becomes inflamed due to a decreased production of estrogen. This female hormone is responsible for the elasticity and suppleness of the skin and tissue of the vagina, as estrogen affects the glands that supply fluids and mucus to the vaginal tissues. However, once estrogen production has decreased, the vagina tends to become dry and less elastic due to the reduction of the glands that produce mucus for the tissues around the vagina. Menopausal women and those that are breastfeeding are more susceptible to this gynecological condition because of their low levels of estrogen in the body.
Atrophic vaginitis symptoms include vaginal dryness, pain and bleeding after intercourse, thin and watery vaginal discharge that is usually white or yellow in color, and genital dryness. Learn more about the symptoms as they are discussed in detail.
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Recognizing the Symptoms of Atrophic Vaginitis
Women suffering from atrophic vaginitis may experience one or all of the following symptoms:
Pain during sexual intercourse
The absence of mucus and fluids around the skin and tissue of the vagina may cause it to become dry, thus soreness is likely to occur. Dryness in the vagina can also result in pain during sexual intercourse, as the vagina is less likely to become lubricated. Sometimes, bleeding may occur after sexual intercourse, as caused by this vaginal dryness and soreness.
Discomfort in the genital and vagina
Soreness of the vagina and vulva can be painful and cause discomfort. Some women may also experience itching or burning sensation in the vagina as a result of the dryness.
Glycogen is a type of protein that encourages the production of good bacteria that protects the vagina from infection. Estrogen is responsible for the stimulation of the cells in the vagina that produce glycogen. However, a decrease level of estrogen also affects the production of glycogen, resulting to low resistance of the vagina against infection. A white or yellow discharge (that is usually unpleasant in odor) may occur, signifying the presence of infection in the vagina.
Itch or burning sensation in the vagina
Dryness in the vagina can cause it to become sensitive and itchy. An "itch/scratch" cycle tends to occur as one becomes prone to scratch the area that is itchy, and the more it is scratched, the more it becomes itchy. This cycle can become very distressing and may be difficult to break.
The inflammation of the vagina can extend up to the tissues around the urethra, or the opening for urine. The tissues in the urethra tend to become thinner and weaker, thus resulting to urinary infection.
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Certain phases in a woman's life may affect the production of hormones that are responsible for the normal functioning of the glands of the body. Menopause and breastfeeding affects the production of estrogen, and this results in a gynecological condition such as atrophic vaginitis. Although this is not a serious condition, it may cause discomfort. Once any of the symptoms are experienced, a woman should discuss it with her gynecologist so that proper treatment may be given.
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Atrophic Vaginitis, http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Atrophic-Vaginitis.htm
Atrophic Vaginitis, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000892.htm