Atrophic vaginitis

Atrophic vaginitis is an inflammation or irritation of the vagina caused by thinning and shrinking of the tissues of the vagina and decreased lubrication of the vaginal walls. This is due to a lack of estrogen.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Atrophic vaginitis is typically caused by a decrease in estrogen, as normally occurs after menopause . The disorder may occur in younger women who have had surgery to remove their ovaries. Some women experience it immediately after childbirth or while breastfeeding, since estrogen levels are lower at these times.

Signs and tests

A pelvic examination reveals thin, pale vaginal walls. A wet prep (microscopic evaluation of vaginal discharge ) may be done to rule out other causes of vaginitis. Hormonal studies may be done if menopausal status is uncertain.


Topical estrogen creams or tablets may be used vaginally or oral estrogen replacement therapy may be initiated. Usually this is effective in overcoming the problem. Painful sexual intercourse may be helped by using a water-soluble vaginal lubricant.

Expectations (prognosis)

Symptomatic relief is usually achieved by implementing one or more of the treatments outlined.


  • May predispose a woman to having vaginal infections caused by bacteria or fungi (yeast).
  • Usually there is not a specific infection. Instead there is a localized tissue reaction to normal bacteria and their metabolic products.
  • Open sores or cracks in the vaginal wall.
  • Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you are experiencing vaginal soreness, burning, itching , or painful sexual intercourse that is not alleviated with a water-soluble lubricant.


    For post-menopausal women in particular, regular sexual activity, with or without a partner, is recommended. Sexual activity improves blood circulation in the vagina , which helps maintain the tissue.

    Treatment Options – Sorted by Soonest Available


    Save up to versus Emergency Room Visit

    Find Nearest Urgent Care

    Please enter Zip Code for nearest facility

    Av. Wait Time: 3 Min.


    Find Nearest ER

    Please enter Zip Code for nearest facility

    Av. Wait Time: 1 - 8 Hrs.


    Find Nearest Primary Care

    Please enter Zip Code for nearest facility

    Av. Wait Time: 1 - 10 Days

    News related to "Atrophic vaginitis"