Vaginal Atrophy Treatment: Using Dilators & More
What is Vaginal Atrophy and How is it Treated?
Vaginal atrophy is the thinning, inflammation, and drying of the vaginal walls associated with low estrogen levels in women. Vaginal atrophy is commonly experienced after menopause as part of a condition called to as genitourinary symptoms of menopause (GSM).
It can also occur after hysterectomy, gynecological cancers, and in lesser degrees while breast feeding and after childbirth. Vaginal atrophy is commonly associated with the distressing symptoms of painful intercourse and urinary incontinence. The good news is that there are several treatment options available to manage these symptoms.
What Are Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy?
Vaginal atrophy and GSM symptoms vary from person to person and are often uncomfortable.
Symptoms of vaginal atrophy include:
- Pain or burning with urination
- Genital itching
- Vulvar itching
- Vulvar dryness
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased incidence of urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Pain during sex
- Light bleeding after sex
- Tightening of the vagina
- Frequency of urination
- Urgency with urination
- Decreased natural lubrication during intercourse
What Causes of Vaginal Atrophy?
Decreased levels of estrogen hormones lead to symptoms of vaginal atrophy and genitourinary symptoms of menopause (GSM). When estrogen levels decline the vaginal tissue becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic.
Declining estrogen levels leading to vaginal atrophy typically occur:
- After childbirth
- With breastfeeding
- Following pelvic radiation for cancer
- The years leading up to menopause (perimenopause)
- After menopause
- After hysterectomy
- Following surgical removal of the ovaries
- As a side effect to breast cancer treatment
- Following chemotherapy for cancer
- As a side effect to using anti-estrogen medications to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis
Why Use Vaginal Dilators for Atrophy?
Vaginal dilators, also referred to as vaginal trainers, are used to restore the depth, width, and elasticity of the vaginal canal to allow for sexual activity, tampon use, or medical exams. See our medical grade silicone set.
Vaginal atrophy treatment includes the use of vaginal dilators to progressively improve the mobility of the vaginal tissue while learning to relax the pelvic floor muscles. Intimate Rose Vaginal Dilators come in eight progressively larger sizes to allow for gentle progression to meet your goals.
To decrease pain with vaginal penetration, the keys to success are consistency and routine practice. Daily use of vaginal dilators, coupled with relaxation techniques and focused attention on training the muscles, will result in achieving your goals.
Your health care provider may have a unique training plan for you outside of the recommendations made here. Vaginal dilation can be used as an adjunct to pelvic floor muscle physical therapy, psychotherapy, sex therapy, vaginal estrogen therapy, and personal lubricants.
Use Vulvar Balm and Personal Lubricant
Vulvar balm for vaginal atrophy assists in providing moisturization to dry, irritated vulvar tissue.
Intimate Rose’s Organic Feminine Balm is helpful in soothing irritated and sensitive skin, promoting healing, and decreasing dryness and redness associated with low estrogen states. Vulvar balm can be likened to lip balm for dry, irritated lips.
During sex, personal lubricant should be used in generous amounts. Vaginal atrophy can lead to bleeding due to the thinning and dry nature of the vaginal canal.
Using 1-2 tablespoons of personal lubricant can help prevent painful friction during intercourse. A clean suspension dropper can be used to apply personal lubricant deeper into the vaginal canal.
Talk to your doctor about hormone or bioidentical hormone replacement
Some women can benefit from using vaginal estrogen cream to improve the health of the vaginal tissue. Topical estrogen applied into the vagina two to three times per week can help improve blood flow to the tissue, making it more supple and thus decreasing the incidence of urinary incontinence and pain during sex.
- Dilator HUB: Trainings, Videos & Inspiration
- Vaginal Dilator FAQs
- Pelvic Pain and Vaginal Scarring
- Painful Sex: What it Is and How to Treat It
- Treating Vaginal Atrophy With Dilators
An Overview From Amanda & Aaron
How do my patients give their script to Intimate Rose?
We've added the ability to upload a script as part of the purchase process. Visitors on www.intimaterose.com can choose the Prescription Upload link directly below the Add To Cart button on dilator product pages. Visitors can upload their script via mobile or desktop. Any file version will do. Alternatively, visitors can also email a copy of their script to email@example.com.
What is the longer term plan?
We are actively working on a better experience for customers and clinicians to make the vaginal dilator purchase process as seamless as possible. We will share updates as this solution becomes available.
What can I do as a healthcare provider?
Healthcare providers can help their patients with this process in a few ways. If you can write a script, you can provide one to firstname.lastname@example.org referencing your patient or have your patients upload / email it to us. State laws vary on who can or can't write a prescription. If you can not write a script, you can call your patient's PCP and ask them if they'd help.
Where can I find official FDA documentation?
Here is a link to the FDA document on Vaginal Dilators: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfpcd/classification.cfm?id=HDX.
This link shows that Vaginal Dilators are considered a class 2 medical device that require 510(k) documentation to be compliant with the FDA.
Does this have something to do with Insurance or FSA?
No, this is completely independent of any insurance or FSA compliance, and that isn't a cause or effect of this.