Menopause is the biological process in a woman’s life that marks the end of her reproductive years. It is a natural, but often troublesome, phenomenon that affects the entire body, including the vagina. The onset of menopause can cause a variety of changes in the female anatomy, and it is essential to understand the science behind these changes to develop effective treatments.  

The Impact of Menopause

The vagina is one of the primary organs affected by menopause. The hormonal changes that occur during this phase of life can cause thinning and hardening of the vaginal walls, making them prone to inflammation and irritation. The level of estrogen production in the ovaries drops, which leads to a reduction in the production of natural lubrication. This can cause vaginal dryness, soreness, and itching. 

Another significant issue during menopause is the loss of vaginal elasticity, which can cause discomfort during sexual activity. As estrogen levels drop, so does blood flow to the vagina, leading to a decrease in the production of collagen and elastin. These proteins are essential for maintaining the elasticity and thickness of the vaginal wall. This is called vaginal atrophy and more recently, Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause, as this also affects urinary issues. 

Moreover, the lack of estrogen also makes the vagina more susceptible to bacterial infections. The acidic environment of the vagina helps prevent illnesses caused by infection, but a reduction in estrogen levels decreases the acidity and creates a fertile ground for harmful bacterial growth. This increased risk makes it essential to maintain proper hygiene during menopause. It has been shown that at least 50% of women over the age of 45 suffer from these symptoms. 

Hormonal changes during menopause also have an impact on bladder health. The lack of estrogen can cause the walls of the urethra to weaken, leading to an increased risk of urinary tract infections. Additionally, reduced estrogen levels may cause incontinence, or loss of bladder control, which can cause embarrassment and impact a woman’s quality of life. The hormone change can also lead to a decrease in the elasticity and thickness of the vaginal walls, which can lead to vaginal prolapse, where the bladder, rectum, or uterus may protrude into the vagina. Vaginal atrophy can also affect the genitourinary tract, leading to urinary incontinence, urgency, or painful urination. These symptoms can be distressing and can severely impact a woman’s quality of life, self-esteem, and sexual health. 

Treatment Options to Boost Vaginal Health

The treatment of menopausal vaginal symptoms focuses on maintaining or restoring the natural hormonal balance of the body. This can be achieved through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which involves the administration of estrogen and/or progesterone hormones to alleviate menopausal symptoms. HRT can be administered in the form of oral tablets, transdermal patches, creams, or vaginal suppositories.  

Another effective treatment modality for vaginal symptoms is vaginal rejuvenation. This treatment includes a range of non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures that stimulate collagen production and vaginal tissue regeneration. The most common vaginal rejuvenation procedures are laser therapy and radiofrequency therapy that target the vaginal tissues and stimulate regeneration. One less invasive option is SkinGenuity’s Vaginal Rejuvenation. While 99% of competitors, use human derived products, SkinGenuity’s VR uses recombinant human growth factors, combined with hyaluronic acid, selected because of the strong, published literature indicating efficacy in improving symptoms associated with vaginal atrophy. SkinGenuity VR contains no hormones and may be used as an adjuvant prior to and following invasive vaginal rejuvenation procedures. SkinGenuity VR has been proven in extensive clinical studies to help improve the symptoms and is recommended by physicians around the world. 

Menopause is a natural process that signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Although it is a universal experience for all women, the impact of menopause on the vagina can vary widely, with some women experiencing severe symptoms and others experiencing none. Vaginal dryness, atrophy, and discomfort are common genitourinary symptoms of menopause that can affect a woman’s sexual health and wellbeing. However, various treatment options are available to alleviate these symptoms, including HRT, vaginal rejuvenation procedures, lubricants, and moisturizers. As medical professionals, it is important to educate women about these options so they can make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing during menopause.