Menopause Can Cause Vaginal Atrophy

Brittany Barreto, Ph.D., is a podcast host, entrepreneur, and molecular and human geneticist. (In other words, she is very smart.) Read her column here every month to learn what’s happening in the world of technology and innovation in women’s health.

October 18, 2023 is World Menopause Day.

Vaginas are meant to be like a glorious hot spring: moist and warm. Like hot springs, there is an underground element fundamental for its existence. For hot springs, it is magma. For women, it’s estrogen. So what happens when estrogen goes down because you’re postpartum, menopause, or undergoing cancer treatment? The hot springs dry out or, in this case, women develop genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), formerly known as vaginal atrophy.

GSM is thinning, dryness and inflammation of the vaginal walls. This causes very uncomfortable symptoms, such as painful sexual intercourse, vaginal infections and urinary incontinence. But these are not experiences you have to live with or accept.

There are evidence-based treatments such as hormone therapy, moisturizers and lubricants, and pelvic floor physical therapy that have been shown to be helpful, but there are also some new and innovative solutions.

Here are four women-owned businesses that offer solutions for women whose “hot springs” need some support.

Milli: a vaginal dilator that will help you relax at your own pace

Photo/Courtesy of Milli

A symptom of vaginal atrophy is vaginismus, hardening of the vagina. This hardening causes pain during sexual intercourse, annual pelvic exams, or even when inserting a tampon. Historically, women were given dilators that increased in size to stretch the vagina. These dilators have no customization and increase in size quite dramatically, making the process constantly painful.

Milli It is an expansive vaginal dilator that increases in size at a rate you can control. Once, while describing a good stretch, a yoga instructor told me, “Millimeters will take you miles.” Well, Milli gives you those millimeters to slowly stretch your vagina at your own pace and comfort. It is also the first and only FDA-approved all-in-one expandable vaginal dilator.

vFit: the new red light therapy

Have you ever received light therapy during a facial treatment? red light therapy It stimulates blood flow in the tissue, bringing all that good oxygen and immune cells to tissues that may have been lost. Just like rejuvenating your forehead or neck, red light therapy can stimulate blood flow in vaginal tissues and help promote a stronger pelvic floor also.

The vFit is an OB/GYN-designed vaginal stimulator that uses six UV-free, high-powered red lights, which the manufacturer, Joylux, claims. increase natural lubrication, sensation and tension, so it can help you get your juices flowing again, in more ways than one! And did I mention that it also heats up and vibrates?

Ovy Relief: a vaginal suppository

vaginal suppository

Photo/Courtesy of Ovy Relief

The female reproductive organs have a large number of endocannabinoid receptors. These are receptors that cannabis-based molecules, such as CBD and CBG, can bind to to offer benefits such as pain relief. Another curious fact is that the vagina is very good for absorb liquid and medicine. So why not relieve pain directly at its source?

Egg relief is a CBD and CBG vaginal suppository to relieve pelvic pain, including vaginal atrophy. Insert the discreet pill into the vagina, allow it to absorb into the vaginal tissue for 20 minutes and benefit from direct pain relief for eight hours. Ovy Relief is available online and has a subscription option, taking the pain out of your vagina and off your to-do list.

Aquafit: gel bars to transform vaginal pH

Gel bars to transform your vaginal pH.

Photo/Courtesy of Aquafit

He natural vaginal acid The environment creates a protective barrier that prevents harmful bacteria from causing infection, itching, discharge and bad odor. Vaginal atrophy can change the acidic pH of the vagina and disrupt this healthy bacterial community, known as flora. Now, restoring your pH can be as easy as a vaginal massage in the shower.

Aquafit Intimate Gel Stick is an all-natural water-based product with lactic acid, aloe vera and vitamin C to support healthy pH and flora. The hand gel bar activates when placed in water, either in the shower or in a glass by the bed. After inserting the gel-based product into the vagina, contract your vaginal muscles to slide the wand out and repeat. This movement provides the beneficial ingredients, hydrates the deep vaginal tissue and improves elasticity of vaginal tissue (stretching that reduces pain during sexual relations). The gel bars last 14 days with daily use and can be purchased via subscription.

Please note that not all of these products have been approved by the FDA and therefore have not been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

The information about products and/or services in this column does not constitute any type of endorsement or recommendation by HealthyWomen. Links are provided for your convenience and for informational purposes only. On occasion, this column may cover companies in which Brittany Barreto is an investor.

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