Inflammation involving the vagina is a common complaint in elderly women. The normal vaginal discharge decreases in quantity with aging, and it becomes less acidic. This discharge normally provides for self-cleansing, and the acidic nature of the discharge inhibits the possible growth of infecting organisms. After menopause, changes also occur in the vagina that increase susceptibility to infections. These changes result from a decrease in the amount of estrogen, the female hormone, that occurs after menopause.
The prime symptom of vaginitis is itching. It may be felt in or around the vagina. It is a persistent and bothersome symptom. Associated with the itching is a vaginal discharge that occasionally is bloody. If an infection occurs, the discharge may have an odor, and there may be swelling in the tissues surrounding the vagina.
Important Points in Treatment
Many topical medicines are available to treat any infection and to reverse the menopausal changes in the vagina. Your physician will select the medicine based on the probable type of infection and the degree of postmenopausal change.
It is best to wear all-cotton undergarments, which can help to keep the vaginal area dry. Sexual intercourse should be avoided while vaginitis is active.
Notify Our Office If ...
- You have itching or burning in the vagina.
- You have bloody vaginal discharge.