After some time passes, human bodies begin to age. Each gender has its own problems and peculiarities. Thus, females go through menopause. This is a stage when menstrual cycles stop and never reappear. It takes place somewhere between 45 and 55 years with some exceptions. During this stage, women receive different unpleasant symptoms. One of them is the genitourinary syndrome of menopause.
First of all, it’s necessary to define what is genitourinary syndrome of menopause. At times, this condition is called vaginal atrophy. It causes the thinning of vaginal tissues, dryness, and inflammatory processes. They appear as a response to insufficient amounts of estrogen in the body. As vaginal atrophy causes problems with urination and vaginal disturbance, it’s called genitourinary syndrome of menopause or briefly GSM. This guide provides the main genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) clinical guidelines.
The genitourinary syndrome of menopause has certain symptoms. Knowing them, you’ll understand whether you suffer from this complication or it’s something else. Try to remember the typical symptoms and turn for help as soon as you feel them. Make allowances for the next issues:
- Dryness of the vagina;
- Burning and itching in the vagina;
- Vaginal discharge;
- Painful urination
- Too frequent urination;
- Some infections of the urinary tract;
- The inability to hold the urine;
- Light spotting after sex;
- Discomfort during sex;
- A lowered sexual desire;
- Shortening of the vaginal canal;
- Tightening of the vaginal canal.
Many women are shy to discuss these symptoms even with their doctors. You should not repeat this serious mistake. If you delay, the symptoms may worsen and harm your health. Consult a doctor as quickly as you can to properly treat the genitourinary syndrome of menopause GSM.
Causes Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause
As it’s known, the issue of GSM, as well as many other health problems, occurs because of a sufficient drop of estrogen. This is the most important female hormone. There are several reasons why its levels drop. These are:
- The stage after menopause;
- Perimenopause (the transition stage to menopause);
- Surgical removal of ovaries;
- While a woman feeds with breast;
- Preparations that can lower the levels of estrogen (for example, birth control drugs);
- Radiation therapy;
- Hormonal treatment of the consequences of cancer.
If you had any of these health problems, your estrogen will surely decrease. Mind that the symptoms of GSM may not appear for many years even when your menopause has already started. Many women never experience this medical condition. It should be also mentioned that many studies showed that sexually active women are less predisposed to having GSM. Therefore, your sexual life plays an important role in your health.
There are certain risk factors that may provoke genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Many women don’t even understand that they have contributed somehow to its appearance. Consider the next risk factors:
- Smoking. Cigarettes endanger our life in many ways. One of such is a decrease in estrogen. Smoking negatively affects the circulation of blood. Consequently, it sometimes lessens the flow of oxygen to the vagina.
- Non-vaginal birth. Not all women manage to give birth to their children naturally. At times, the childbirth runs heavily and only the cesarean section can help. Besides, some women never get pregnant at all. This leads to the development of GSM.
- Low sexual activity. Another sure reason why GSM may take place is low sexual activity or its full absence. The tissues of the vagina become non-elastic due to a low blood inflow and so, this health problem develops.
If this ailment isn’t properly cured, it may ignite other health problems. For example, it kindles vaginal infections because the acid balance in the vagina is violated. Another possible issue leads to complications with urination. Some women urinate too often and some feel burning during this process. At times, the cases of the urine incontinence were reported. Therefore, you should never ignore this ailment and seek medical attention.
When to See a Doctor
Many women don’t immediately go to their doctors after the first signs of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). It’s a huge mistake, which may lead to the worsening of symptomology. Moreover, it may provoke vaginal and urinary tract infections.
Therefore, don’t delay and go to your doctor as soon as you feel a prolonged and serious problem. A professional will examine you to determine your current health state. Afterward, you’ll be appointed an adequate treatment to successfully overcome the problem.
Treatment and Prevention
The condition of GSM can be successful cured and prevented. In most cases, doctors prescribe special vaginal remedies, which are moisturizers or water-based lubricants. They add moisture to remove the dryness. Consequently, the irritation and painful sensations during sex wither away.
If these remedies don’t help, patients are prescribed creams, pills, or flexible rings. At times, hormonal therapy is required. It’s applied when the levels of estrogen are dangerously low. The hormone is administered through gel, patches, tablets, or ring with estrogen.
You must be cautious with estrogen therapy. Although it helps to recover the levels of estrogen, its amounts may be over the norm. It reduces the levels of progesterone, which thickens the tissues in the vagina. Accordingly, there is a high risk of bleeding.
The experts strongly recommend being sexually active. Regular sexual activity prevents the development of this ailment. It’s remarkable that sexual activity can be either with a partner or without him. Thus, you will not need any genitourinary syndrome of menopause treatment at all to keep the ailment at bay. At any rate, you should regularly consult your doctor and immediately report on all health deviations you feel, especially when menopause is close or has already started. Be attentive and you’ll avoid this and many other health issues.
Memorize the facts mentioned in this guide on the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. They are very important to keep healthy and prevent the worsening of certain health conditions. Always consult a specialist to be sure your preventive methods are effective and unharmful.
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