Private Gynaecology and Specialist care

Vaginal Atrophy + Vulval Conditions

After the menopause, at least one in two women experience troublesome symptoms affecting the vagina and surrounding areas - the external female sex organs or vulva. 

Many women do not seek help due to embarrassment or because they assume it is a normal part of ageing that they simply have to put up with it. 

Rest assured, there are many effective solutions. Our consultant gynaecologists understand what you are going through and, in most cases, can successfully treat the symptoms of vaginal atrophy and other vulval conditions once the underlying cause is properly diagnosed.

What is vaginal atrophy?

Your vaginal walls respond to falling levels of oestrogen hormone after the menopause by becoming thinner, drier, less elastic and generally more fragile. Known as vaginal atrophy, these changes also affect the natural acidity of the vagina, and make it difficult for normal, protective bacteria to flourish. 

Vaginal atrophy can lead to a variety of intimate symptoms such as:

vaginal dryness
vaginal discharge
burning or soreness 
itching and irritation
urinary frequency or discomfort
urinary leakage
painful sex
unexpected vaginal bleeding, especially after sex
urinary tract infections
vaginal yeast infections (eg thrush)
bacterial imbalances (eg bacterial vaginitis or BV)

Some women even find it uncomfortable to sit down or are no longer able to exercise or ride a bicycle because of the pain. Not surprisingly, these problems can lead to loss of confidence, relationship difficulties and affect your quality of life. The good news is that effective treatments are available, and our private gynaecologists can help you decide the best options for you.

Vaginal atrophy treatment

Many women try over-the-counter feminine itching treatment or a vaginal moisturiser. These can provide temporary relief but do not treat the underlying cause, meaning your symptoms are likely to return.

The standard treatment for vaginal atrophy is a topical oestrogen preparation, such as a vaginal cream, a vaginal tablet or an oestrogen-releasing ring. These usually start to relieve your symptoms within a few weeks of treatment, with continued improvement over the following months.

If you have other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes or fatigue, then oral HRT is another option.

The latest treatment for vaginal atrophy is MonaLisa Touch. This laser treatment helps to restore vaginal tissues to their normal, pre-menopause thickness, elasticity and level of moisture. Many women notice an improvement after the first session of MonaLisa Touch, but a course of three treatments is recommended for lasting relief. You can then have an annual maintenance treatment if needed.  

The Cleveland Clinic, one of America's top five hospitals, has published more about Energy-Based treatments and you can learn more here.

What other vulval conditions can occur? 

Vulval and vaginal symptoms can result from a number of other conditions including infections, skin problems (eg dermatitis, genital psoriasis, lichen planus, lichen sclerosus) and pain syndromes (vulvodynia) all of which need different treatments.

If you experience vulval conditions, or notice changes such as white patches, discolouration, flaking, scaliness or lumps in the area, seek medical help as soon as possible. Although rare, it is also important to rule out vulval cancer.        

Our women’s health specialists work alongside a team of doctors, including GPs, specialists in dermatology (skin diseases), endocrinology (hormone imbalances) and surgery and we offer a comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of vulval conditions.

Our Clinic in London

The Medical Chambers Kensington in London is on hand to provide specialist treatment for vaginal atrophy and vulval conditions. To find out how our private gynaecologists can help you, please telephone 020 7244 4200 for a confidential chat, or make an appointment online.