Vaginal rejuvenation is often synonymous with vaginal health. This is because, as a society, we associate youthfulness with good health.
But that is not always the case.
Whether you are 16 or 61, a myriad of conditions can affect your sexual health and well-being. Many women don’t seek assistance or know where to begin. Frequently, women are not aware of the latest treatments available or find their condition too embarrassing to talk about.
Women suffer in silence from conditions ranging from painful intercourse and abnormal bleeding to urinary incontinence and STDs. Many women feel their symptoms are part of aging and they must simply learn to live with it.
Furthermore, online searches often provide contradicting opinions which is of little help or reassurance.
However, you don’t need to live with your symptoms.
There are medical innovations such as ThermiVA® to restore vaginal health and address incontinence. Vaccinations are available for viral infections and some concerns can be remedied by changing the products you use.
Below are 10 common vaginal concerns and conditions women face today.
1. Urinary Incontinence
Embarrassing and frustrating are just two of the terms women use to describe the involuntary urine leakage. It can affect you at any age and can be the result of weakened bladder muscles due to childbirth, menopause and aging. Leakage typically occurs when you:
- Stand up from a sitting position
- Lift or bend to pick something up
ThermiVA® is a medical treatment that can treat urinary incontinence. It stimulates your body to produce collagen that helps strengthen tissues through the application of radiofrequency heat. It’s non-surgical, requires no needles or anesthesia, and results last from 9-12 months.
2. Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are the most common vaginal-related health concerns a women will encounter during her lifetime. It occurs when something disrupts the delicate balance of secretions within the vagina, allowing an overgrowth of Candida.
A yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can result from a variety of factors including: taking antibiotic, an impaired immune system, pregnancy, along with oral contraceptives and uncontrolled / poorly controlled diabetes.
Symptoms can include
- Burning during urination
- Swelling around the vagina
- Pain during sex
- Unusual discharge and odor
Although a yeast infection can be transmitted among partners, but you don’t have to be sexually active to get a yeast infection. Yeast infections can reappear without apparent cause but most are easily treated. Multiple types of Candida are present in the vagina and for severe, resistant or complicated cases, a lab test may be necessary to determine which type you have.
3. Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness often occurs to women of menopausal age and after childbirth when hormone levels dip drastically. It can also happen as a result of insufficient production of collagen, the protein that’s responsible for keeping tissues supple, resilient and giving them elasticity.
ThermiVA® is a high-tech solution that stimulates tissues at the mouth of the vagina and the entire length of the vaginal canal to create collagen, resulting in better lubrication and increased sensitivity. An added benefit of the treatment is an overall improved appearance of the genital area that time, hormones and childbirth can take away.
4. Pain During Intercourse
Painful sex can be linked to a wide variety of issues that includes STDs, insufficient lubrication, a change in hormone levels, an infection or vaginal trauma and scarring. Other causes encompass fibroids, cysts and tumors, along with thickening of the uterus. Only your gynecologist can correctly determine the exact cause.
When the problem is insufficient lubrication or laxity of tissues, ThermiVA® is an excellent option for rejuvenation and revival. Lubrication and sensation is improved, along with the outer appearance of the genital area for greater confidence.
5. Contact Dermatitis
When irritants or allergens come in contact with sensitive genital tissues it can result in contact dermatitis that produces burning and itching that may be accompanied by redness. A wide range of products can cause the condition, including bath soaps and gels, laundry products, and even feminine hygiene products.
Symptoms may also include:
- Vulvar swelling and redness
- Thickening of the skin
- A feeling of dampness or rawness
- Pain that can be exacerbated by intercourse or the use of tampons
Removing the source of the irritation will alleviate symptoms and your gynecologist can prescribe ointments to alleviate pain, itching and swelling.
A chlamydia infection is an STI spread through sexual contact and caused by specific bacteria. It may or may not cause symptoms. When symptoms are apparent, they can include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Painful intercourse
- Burning during urination
- Bleeding or vaginal discharge after sex
- Lower belly pain, sometimes accompanied by a fever
Chlamydia is treatable with antibiotics and it’s essential that you and your partner both receive treatment to prevent the infection from being transferred and becoming reinfected.
7. Abnormal Bleeding
Abnormal bleeding is defined as any bleeding that occurs after sex or between regular menstrual periods. It can be associated with:
- Chlamydia and other STDs
- Vaginal dryness due to insufficient lubrication
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Vigorous sex
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- First time sex or long-term abstinence
- Polyps, cysts and fibroids
- Hormone changes
There’s no need to assume the worst and some types of bleeding are more common in certain age groups for specific reasons. The only way to know for sure what the underlying cause may be is by scheduling an appointment with your gynecologist.
Genital herpes is an STD that is easily transmitted to sexual partners through vaginal, anal and oral sex. In the U.S., 1 in every 6 people between the ages of 14-49 has herpes. People with herpes may demonstrate mild symptoms or none at all.
The virus can lie dormant for months or even years with no outward symptoms, but recurring outbreaks are common. The initial outbreak may resemble the flu, while ongoing episodes are generally less severe and of shorter duration.
Fluid from the sores can transmit the virus to other parts of your body and the sores can be especially painful if you have a depressed immune system. There’s no cure for the virus, but medications are available to help suppress and shorten an outbreak.
Caused by a tiny protozoan, trichomoniasis is an STD. Only 30 percent of those with the STD ever exhibit any symptoms and most never know they’ve been infected. It is one of the most common and curable STD, but it’s possibly one of the least diagnosed.
Both genders can have trichomoniasis and you’re more likely to have been infected if you’re an older woman. It’s an unpredictable infection. You may or may not develop symptoms and they can randomly appear and disappear.
Symptoms may include:
- Genital itching, redness, burning or soreness
- Uncomfortable or painful urination
- Change in vaginal discharge ranging in color from clear, white, yellowish or greenish
- Discharge that changes in amount or consistency
- Discharge with a foul or fishy odor
A lab test is required to diagnose trichomoniasis and it can be successfully treated with oral medication. It’s also important to know that you can get trichomoniasis again if you have sex with someone who is infected.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD in the U.S. and it is estimated that 80% of the population will contract it. The virus usually goes away on its own, but when it doesn’t it can cause certain types of cancer and genital warts.
The good news is that there’s a vaccine that can be given to girls and boys at the age of 12. Vaccines are also available for women through age 26 who weren’t vaccinated as children.
When HPV causes warts, they’re usually small and may just appear as bumps, but they can be of every shape and size, raised or flat, and even resemble a cauliflower. When HPV results in cancer, it can take years for the disease to appear.
Some people have the virus and never develop any symptoms at all and there’s no test to ascertain a person’s “status.” Your healthcare provider can provide an accurate diagnosis if you have symptoms about which you’re concerned.
See Your Gynecologist
Dr. Cook has the experience and technology to diagnose and treat the Top 10 vaginal concerns you may have, along with a comprehensive range of other conditions that affect your sexual health and well-being. If you have any symptoms that cause you concern, it’s imperative that you schedule an appointment for a check-up and evaluation to ensure your continued health.