Vaginal atrophy affects more than 2 million Canadian women but intimacy does not need to be sacrificed.
Dr. Vivien Brown,Vice President of Medical Affairs for Medisys Corporate Health
Vaginal atrophy (VA) is a common, but treatable condition, affecting post-menopausal women.
VA is where the vaginal walls become thin, fragile and inflamed due to the reduction of estrogen that naturally occurs during menopause. Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include: burning, itching, dryness, irritation and painful intercourse. According to a recent study, not only is VA causing physical discomfort, but it’s also causing emotional distance between couples because of the difficulty women are having discussing it with their partners.
The CLOSER study, a study that surveyed more than 1,000 Canadian post-menopausal women and male partners of post-menopausal women, and showed couples are feeling the impact.
- Sixty-six per cent of post-menopausal women avoid sexual intimacy fearing it is too painful
- Sixty-three per cent of women avoid sexual intimacy due to a general loss of libido
- Canadian women are among the most likely to agree that due to VA sex is less satisfying
- One fifth of women feel VA has made them emotionally distant from their partner
- Forty-four per cent of women say VA makes them feel old
- Sixty-eight per cent of men surveyed say they have sex less often because of VA
- Thirty per cent of men say sex is less satisfying for them personally
- Twenty-six per cent of Canadian men say they have stopped having sex altogether
Fortunately, there are treatment options. Treating the symptoms:
Many women self-treat using over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers, which may provide temporary relief of symptoms but do not treat the underlying condition.
Fortunately, there are treatment options. Treating the underlying condition:
Local Estrogen Therapy (LET) treats the underlying condition. As a result of LET, one third of Canadian women according to the CLOSER Study agreed their sex life had improved and that they felt more optimistic about the future of their sex life. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), effective treatment options are available for VA, with local estrogen therapy being a standard of care. LET comes in several forms, we have several options are available for VA, with local estrogen therapy being a standard of care.
LET comes in several forms, we have several options in Canada:
- Vaginal estrogen tablet
- Vaginal estrogen cream
- Vaginal estrogen ring
Which one is right for you? There are different advantages, ease of use and decisions for women…so talk to your doctor! Healthcare professionals are a primary source of information and together with women, their partners and their doctors can find a solution. but intimacy does not need to be sacrificed.
Sources: Clarifying vaginal atrophy’s impact On SEX and Relationships (CLOSER). European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) Annual Congress, March 2012. Mayo Clinic: Vaginal Atrophy Definition.