In the past a lot of menopausal individuals have suffered in silence. Like many “women’s problems” Menopause has been brushed under the proverbial carpet and left to the individual to “put up” with. An issue seen as so unimportant even medical students have received less than a day’s training on the subject.
Understandable, then that a lot of GPs have very limited knowledge on the subject and may appear dismissive when an individual asks for help with troublesome symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats or mood swings. So, when an individual experiences vaginal dryness, painful sex or recurrent urinary tract infections, (UTI) they are often unlikely to seek help and speak to their doctor.
Without help the individual is likely to stop having sex, putting a strain on their relationship, find certain tighter fitting clothes uncomfortable, affecting their self-image and esteem and even walking becomes a painful problem making exercise near impossible.
Approximately half of all menopausal individuals will suffer with vaginal dryness, (also known as: Genitourinary Symptom of the Menopause, (GSM), Atrophic Vaginitis or Vaginal Atrophy,). It is caused by a drop in the normal levels of Oestrogen. Oestrogen maintains the health of the vaginal area, keeping it well lubricated and maintain a stable, acidic environment with a pH of 3.8-5.
When the Oestrogen levels drop during peri/menopause the vaginal tissue can become thin, dry, cracked and sore allowing infection to enter the body and sex to become extremely painful. Conventional HRT may help the situation but may not relieve it completely. The great news is there is an effective treatment, and it can be bought over the counter at the chemist WITHOUT a prescription.
Gina is a vaginal tablet that contains a small amount of Oestrogen. It is applied directly inside the vagina and releases the medication to the surrounding tissue. It is a very small dose so is considered safe for most individuals but will not be effective as a systemic medication so is not a replacement for HRT. A pharmacist will have a discussion with the individual prior to dispensing the medication but be reassured, all pharmacists will have a private room to chat and are very experienced in this area so there is no need to be embarrassed. Other vaginal tablets are available on prescription.
Along with this medication, individuals can and should, use vaginal moisturisers and lubricants which are available from most chemists, some supermarkets and adult shops.
Individuals should not suffer in silence. It is not a shameful condition; it is a natural occurrence during menopause and treatment is available. If you would like more advice book a confidential, non-judgemental chat with one of the Menopause Specialists here at myTamarin.
Vaginal pH Value for Clinical Diagnosis; (2023) www.ncbi.nih.gov
Vaginal Dryness after the Menopause – How to Trea it, (2023) www.mayocliinic.org
Vaginal Dryness, (2023) www.womens-health-concer.org
Explaining the Irritation, (2023) www.balance-app.com
Easier access to locally applied HRT to treat postmenopausal vaginal symptoms in landmark MHRA reclassification, (2022) www.thebms.org.uk