Estrogen Levels and How They Affect Vaginal Health

At any given moment, the hormones in your body are busy regulating your systems, governing your health in innumerable ways. These tiny messengers travel around, delivering crucial signals that cause your cells to jump into action. More often than not, you take these hormones for granted, until a sudden dip in their levels changes your body in not-so-subtle ways.

For women, this experience is inevitable as they pass through menopause and their estrogen levels drop precipitously, leaving behind a wake of problems, especially when it comes to vaginal health.

At Southeast Urogyn, we understand the role that estrogen plays in a woman’s overall health and wellness, and we work with our patients in Jackson, Mississippi, to offset some of the more unfortunate side effects that come with lower levels of this sex hormone.

If you’d like to learn more about how estrogen controls your vaginal health, here’s a quick look at what estrogen does, and more importantly, what happens when it’s no longer in control.

The single mission

While the term estrogen is often used in the singular, it’s actually a group of hormones that are responsible for your female characteristics. Estrogens are produced by your ovaries, and their primary role is to enable reproduction.

Every month during your reproductive years, your estrogen controls the release of your eggs and makes sure that your body is ready to host a developing fetus.

As part of the reproductive effort, your estrogen makes sure that your vaginal health is up to the task by thickening the walls of your vagina. To do this, it calls for more collagen and elastin in the tissue, which creates elasticity and tone. The hormones also increase your vaginal acidity to ward off bacterial infections and promote lubrication within your vagina.

The inevitable loss

The transition through perimenopause and menopause is created when your ovaries begin to run out of eggs, which means that you no longer need higher levels of estrogen for the monthly release and preparation for fertilization.

Once you pass through menopause, your ovaries no longer release eggs, and estrogen production drops off dramatically. This natural loss of the hormone means that your vaginal tissue is longer getting the support it needs, which often leads to thinning and weakened tissue.

As well, the vaginal moisture that kept infections at bay begins to decline, since the chemical messengers responsible for maintaining its production (estrogen) are no longer on the job.

The end result for many women is a condition known as vulvovaginal atrophy, which is marked by thinner, drier tissue that’s less elastic, often making intercourse painful.

The renewed hope

Historically, there was little to be done about declining vaginal health after menopause. Estrogen creams and hormone replacement therapies offered some relief, but nothing really addressed the core of the issue — tissue health.

Thanks to new technologies, we can help restore your vaginal health using noninvasive laser (Monalisa Touch) and radiofrequency (ThermiVa)  therapies that encourage renewed collagen production. In the absence of the estrogen messengers, these treatments fill the role and signal your body to ramp up collagen production, thickening your tissue again and encouraging more lubrication.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your vaginal health after your estrogen levels drop, please give us a call or request an appointment using the online booking tool found on this website.

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