What is estrogen?

Estrogen is a hormone produced mainly by our ovaries that helps our bodies develop and maintain our reproductive system. More specifically, estrogen (along with another reproductive hormone called progesterone) regulates our menstrual cycles.

What's happening?

The estrogen deficiency during menopause causes changes to the vaginal environment. When there is less estrogen circulating in our bodies, the vaginal tissues become thinner, drier, and less elastic, and the vagina itself can become shorter and narrower.

Menopause and estrogen

When menopause happens and we stop having menstrual periods, it is because our ovaries have stopped producing enough of estrogen.

How do I know if I've reached menopause?

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the time that leads up to menopause, and may last five to eight years. As menopause approaches, the ovaries produce less estrogen, causing an estrogen deficiency and changes in your body. During perimenopause, menstrual periods may gradually become lighter and eventually stop altogether.

Diagnoses

There is no single test to diagnose menopause; it is usually determined based on your symptoms. Generally, once 12 consecutive months have passed without a menstrual period, a woman is considered to have gone through menopause, however, some symptoms may persist, but to a lesser degree.

What does this mean?

Menopause is a natural transition in a woman's life. A woman who no longer has a menstrual period and is no longer able to naturally conceive because her ovaries have stopped producing hormones, has gone through menopause.

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Estrogen and your vagina

The changes due to estrogen deficiency are a normal part of aging, but they can lead to uncomfortable symptoms. Those symptoms include:

  • Burning (while urinating or not)
  • Itching
  • Dryness
  • Vaginal irritation
  • Painful intercourse
  • Light bleeding after sex
  • A clear or watery discharge
  • Urgency with urination
  • Urinary incontinence (leaking)
  • Frequent urinary tract infections

 

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48%

of post-menopausal Canadian women had experienced VA