Genito-urinary syndrome of menopause
What is genito-urinary syndrome of menopause?
When a woman goes through menopause the ovaries stop releasing eggs, and this results in lower levels of estrogen hormone circulating each month. This is responsible for many of the common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats and skin changes.
However, an area that is often overlooked is the vagina – many women at this stage note that it is less comfortable with sex, there can be dryness and even skin tears. Some women start to get urinary tract infections as well.
All of these changes are due to lower estrogen levels in the vagina, so a simple treatment is to use an estrogen-containing cream. This makes the walls of the vagina healthier and more robust, improves blood supply and helps maintain a healthy bacterial environment (the ‘vaginal microbiome’).
In some women, estrogen-containing products will not be recommended. If you are having treatment for breast cancer or a blood clot, for example, you shouldn’t use any estrogen replacement. There may be non-hormonal strategies that can help.