atrophic vaginitis

Atrophic Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina caused by dryness and thinning of vaginal tissues. It is most likely to develop during breastfeeding and after menopause. About 40% of menopausal women experience symptoms atrophic vaginitis. However, many do not seek treatment. The most common cause of atrophic vaginitis is the decrease in estrogen after menopause. It can also occur after childbirth, and it can happen when anti-estrogen drugs are used to treat other conditions.

Atrophic Vaginitis is not a life-threatening condition. However, it may interfere with enjoyment of sexual intercourse.

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptoms are:

  • soreness, burning or itching in vagina
  • genital dryness
  • bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • thin, watery vaginal discharge
  • irritation when wearing tight jeans or when sitting on a bike seat
  • frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • painful urination
  • blood in the urine
  • increased frequency of urination
  • incontinence


Atrophic vaginitis occurs when estrogen production is decreased. When estrogen levels decrease, the walls of the vagina become drier, thinner, less elastic, and more prone to bleeding. Atrophic vaginitis can also be a side effect of certain medications or hormones. Medications or hormones can be used as part of the treatment for breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, or infertility to reduce estrogen levels can cause atrophic vaginitis.

Surgical removal of ovaries, and use of oral contraception can cause a decrease in estrogen production.

Other less common causes include:

How is Atrophic Vaginitis Diagnosed?

Your doctor will take perform a pelvic exam. Tests may be taken to rule out a vaginal infection.


Atrophic vaginitis can be treated. Treatments include: hormone replacement therapy, applying estrogen cream directly into the vagina and applying a water-soluble lubricant to increase pleasure in sexual intercourse.