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Vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) is a common medical condition in which the vaginal walls thin and become dry due to decreasing estrogen levels usually associated with menopause. One of the chief complaints associated with this condition is painful intercourse. But despite the fact that VVA affects 45 percent of postmenopausal women, many women do not know that several very effective treatments are widely available. These include a daily pill and localized estrogen therapy. All such treatments are highly effective with few risks.

Vaginal discomfort affects women and their partners
A survey called CLOSER which stands for “Clarifying Vaginal Atrophy’s Impact on Sex and Relationships” examined the impact vaginal discomfort had on intimacy, relationships and women’s self esteem.  The survey—which included 1,000 postmenopausal women and their male partners—reported that vaginal discomfort was the main cause of intimacy avoidance, loss of libido and painful intercourse. And in some cases, vaginal discomfort caused couples to stop having sex altogether.

Estrogen therapy provides effective relief
After estrogen treatment, the majority of women surveyed reported sex was less painful. Specifically, more than 40 percent of women and men said sex was more satisfying. Additionally, 29 percent of the women and 34 percent of men said their sex life improved. Estrogen treatment also had a positive impact on the women’s self esteem. Finally, about a third felt more optimistic about the future of their sex life, and a similar number felt more connected to their partners.

Don’t suffer in silence…talk to your doctor
Many women have a difficult time talking to their doctor because they’re too embarrassed. Others have unsuccessfully tried lubricants and moisturizers—which only provide temporary relief and don’t treat the underlying problem—and feel there are no treatment options available. Even doctors find it difficult to talk to their patients about it. But the truth is VVA is a simple condition to treat. So, please talk to your doctor to see if one of the available therapies is right for you.

Stay tuned! Vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) is changing its name to Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) (GSM actually says what the symptoms are.)


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