Vaginal Dryness and Vaginal Atrophy

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.

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What symptoms can be associated with vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy?

Other vaginal symptoms that are commonly associated with vaginal atrophy include vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and/or pain with sexual intercourse (known as dyspareunia). The vaginal changes also lead to an increased risk of vaginal infections.

In addition to the vaginal symptoms, women may experience other symptoms of the menopausal transition. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, fatigue, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, acne, memory problems, and unwanted hair growth.

How is vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy diagnosed?

Vaginal symptoms such as itching, dryness, or pain with sexual intercourse is typically sufficient to assume that a women is suffering from vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy if she is experiencing other symptoms consistent with the menopausal transition. Of course, a careful physical examination, including a pelvic examination, is necessary to rule out other conditions (such as infections) that may be causing vaginal symptoms.

There are no specific tests available to determine whether the vaginal wall has become thinner or less elastic.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2015
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