ATROPHIC VULVOVAGINITIS AND ITS SYMPTOMS
Atrophic vulvovaginitis (or vaginal atrophy) is a very common pathological condition in women, characterized by a thinning of the vulvar tissues that become more fragile and less elastic, causing annoying vaginal symptoms such as:
- pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
In addition, it can determine the onset of urinary symptoms such as:
- blood in the urine
- frequent urination
- need to get up during the night to urinate
- urinary incontinence
- difficulty completely emptying the bladder
WHEN DOES IT APPEAR AND WHY SHOULD IT BE ADDRESSED?
This pathology usually appears when menopause begins and there is a gradual decline in estrogen levels. It is estimated that 25-50% of peri-/postmenopausal women show its symptoms.
However, atrophic vulvovaginitis can also occur in other situations associated with an estrogen deficiency such as:
- chronic use of oral contraceptives
- radiotherapy or chemotherapy
- amennorrhea due to excessive exercise or eating disorders (anorexia)
- use of some medications
Atrophic vulvovaginitis is a condition that progresses over time and if neglected tends to worsen with a significant impact on the quality of life of a woman and on the intimacy of a couple. Tackling the problem is a fundamental choice to recover a state of well-being.
THE ROLE OF THE MICROBIOTA AND LACTOBACILLUS CRISPATUS
The scientific literature has identified a close correlation between:
- estrogen levels
- thickness of the vaginal epithelium
- balance of the microbiota
If we observe the trend of these parameters during the life cycle of a woman, it is evident that the decrease in the estrogenic level that occurs in menopause and the consequent thinning of the epithelium of the vaginal mucosa is accompanied by a variation in the vaginal microbiota which becomes more unstable and characterized by a greater number of bacterial species.
It is therefore clear that atrophic vulvovaginitis is associated with an alteration of the normal vaginal microflora.
The most recent studies indicate that the resolution of symptoms related to atrophic vulvovaginitis is 3 times greater in the presence of vaginal lactobacilli and that a vaginal microbiota dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus reduces the risk of developing atrophic vulvovaginitis by 25 times.