6 Ways Your Vagina Changes as You Age
Many women experience changes with their vaginas as they age. While every woman is different, many of them deal with these 6 changes. We at Northern Colorado Women’s Wellness know that these changes are common and natural, so we wanted to talk about what those changes can be.
If you’re curious about how your vagina may begin to change as you age, take a look at these 6 common occurrences.
1. Pubic Hair
As you age, your pubic hair may start to grey, thin, or disappear. While it’s not common for you to lose all of your pubic hair, much of it can be lost. This can be exciting for women who shave or wax their pubic hair, although it may mean hair showing up in other unwanted places.
2. The Vulva
The vulva is different from the vagina, but they are very close to each other. Your vulva is outside, and the vagina is the canal inside. The vulva is made up of the lips, clitoris, labia majora and minora, and the urethra.
Often your vulva won’t change during your 40’s, and may not change even in your 50’s. However, some women may develop Vulvovaginal Atrophy, or VVA. This is a result of changes from menopause, like a loss of estrogen. If you have VVA, you may notice your labia becoming less distinct and your vulva losing some fullness.
3. The Vagina
Developing VVA can affect your vagina as well as your vulva. Losing estrogen during menopause can change the functions and appearance of your vagina. This could mean the vaginal opening or length shrinking, or newfound irritation.
Irritation usually occurs when the vaginal walls thin, lose moisture and become less elastic. It can be in the form of a burning or itching sensation. Some women who experience this irritation find it worsens with sex, while others feel irritated during walking or other exercises.
In order to combat irritation, you can moisturize your vagina. You can also use lubricants during sex to help keep your vagina moist. If you enjoy sexual activities, keeping them in a regular pattern can help make it more comfortable and help your vagina stay flexible and moist.
Yeast infections haven’t been found to increase with age, but there are other infections that can become easier to develop. When you lose estrogen during menopause, the natural flora of your vagina changes. This can make the tissue around the urethra thinner, making you more susceptible to Urinary Tract Infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and bacterial vaginosis.
If you want to prevent infections, you can try estrogen therapy to keep up your vaginal flora. You can also moisturize, lubricate, and have regular sex to keep small tears from occurring.
5. Sexual Activities
As you age, you might experience changes in your libido. But then again, you might not. That all depends on a wide range of elements, like hormones, physical abilities or limitations, and your emotional status. However, you can keep sex enjoyable and comfortable by having sex regularly.
Having regular sexual intercourse can keep your vagina lubricated and more healthy. This doesn’t mean you have to plan out your sexual activity on a weekly basis, but regular patterns can make it enjoyable as you age.
Prolapse happens when organs slip out of their usual position because of weakened pelvic floor muscles. It’s more common than you might think, with 30 to 40 percent of women experiencing some kind of prolapse. That could mean prolapse of the uterus, the bladder, or the urethra. Women who have had children or smoke are more likely to have prolapse of some kind.
However, there are ways that you can prevent prolapses from happening to you. Working out your kegel muscles, the muscles of your pelvic floor, can help strengthen them after childbirth and prevent prolapse. In addition, orgasms can help strengthen pelvic floor muscles because of the contraction that happens during one.
What if I see these Changes?
While it might be scary or unpleasant to experience some of these changes as you age, they are common and treatable. If you’re worried about changes to your vagina, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us to discuss it.