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Vaginitis - atrophic; Vaginitis due to reduced estrogen
There are many treatments for vaginal dryness. Before self treating your symptoms, a doctor must determine if they are caused by decreased estrogen, an infection, irritant, or other reason.
If symptoms are mild, they may be relieved by using a water-soluble vaginal lubricant during intercourse. Do not use petroleum jelly, mineral oil, or other oils. These may increase the chance of infection and may damage latex condoms or diaphragms.
Vaginal moisturizing creams are also available without prescription. See also: Alternative treatments for vaginal dryness
Prescription estrogen is very effective in treating atrophic vaginitis. It is available as a cream, tablet, suppository, or ring, all of which are placed directly into the vagina. These medicines deliver estrogen directly to the vaginal tissues. Only a little estrogen is absorbed into the bloodstream.
If hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause are also present, estrogen may be given as a skin patch, or in a pill that you take by mouth. See: Hormone replacement therapy
Women should discuss the risks and benefits of estrogen replacement therapy with their health care provider.
Proper treatment will usually relieve the symptoms.
Atrophic vaginitis may make you more prone to vaginal infections caused by bacteria or fungi (yeast).
Atrophic vaginitis can also cause open sores or cracks in the vaginal wall.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you are experiencing vaginal dryness or soreness, burning, itching, or painful sexual intercourse that is not alleviated with a water-soluble lubricant.
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.
Lobo RA. Menopause: endocrinology, consequences of estrogen deficiency, effects of hormone replacement therapy, treatment regimens. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 42.
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