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Atrophic vaginitis


Catherine S. Stika, MD, Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Suite1015, Chicago, IL60611, or email:


With the loss of estrogen that occurs with menopause, physiologic and structural changes occur within the vulvovaginal mucosa that lead to a condition commonly called atrophic vaginitis. Although mild genital changes occur in most women, 10–47% of postmenopausal women will develop one or more debilitating symptoms that include vulvovaginal dryness, dyspareunia, vulvar itching or pain, recurrent urinary tract infections, as well as abnormal vaginal discharge. Topical estrogen replacement therapies reverse these mucosal changes and are effective treatments for the symptoms of atrophic vaginitis. Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants also provide symptomatic relief for vaginal dryness and dyspareunia, respectively.