Vaginal atrophy is a term used to describe thinning and drying of the tissues lining the vaginal walls. This is caused by a reduction in our natural youth hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. All are necessary for a healthy and happy vagina! The most common cause of this hormone reduction of hormones is natural menopause due to aging. Less well known causes of aggressive hormone suppression is chemotherapy for cancer patients and Birth Control for young women.
Hormonal deficiency leads to chronic irritation and inflammation of the vaginal tissue. Once this inflammatory process starts, daily activities like sitting, walking, using tampons and intercouse can create more micro tears and inflammation becoming quite painful. A woman may start getting symptoms of vaginal itching and UTIs because the walls of the vagina no longer provide a healthy protective barrier against infections. A woman may also start leaking urine as the vaginal walls weaken. This can progress to a vicious cycle of urinary urgency, frequency and burning. The medical term for this is Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause or GSM.