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5 Freaky Things That Can Happen To Your Vagina As You Age

May 14, 2015 2 min read

Ah, the joys of aging. The fact of the matter is, when you get older - ALL of you gets older. Yes, we're talking lady parts too. I will fully admit that I wasn't aware of a couple of these things until my nurse friend shared (and described in detail) her experience with some of them - and they can start happening as soon as you hit your 40's!  I apologize for the TMI time about to ensue in this post - but better you know now (if you didn't already) than just find out one day if/when it happens.
This delightful condition is known as prolapse : a.k.a. the dropping of the uterus, bladder, or rectum into the vagina. For women with mild prolapse, Kegel exercises can be helpful. As far as treatments go, that's entirely dependent on the health of the patient. One option is having a supportive pessary (a removable device) inserted into the vagina to keep things in place. Another option is surgery, including cystocele repair (tucking up the bladder), rectocele (tucking up the rectum), and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and possibly the cervix).
Your Vagina Actually Starts to Look Older
We know that skin loses elasticity over time and wrinkles occur. Well, something very similar happens to your vagina. Estrogen helps to keep skin plump and more elastic. So, as we age, a hormonal decreases means a loss in elasticity of the vagina. This is known as vulvo-vaginal atrophy, or VVR. The vaginal walls thin out and can become dry and inflamed. Kegel exercises probably won't help but any kind of activity that simulates and invigorates the area might (including sexual arousal). A doctor might even recommend a vaginal moisturizer or prescribe a topical or oral estrogen.
Your Uterus—and the Entrance to Your Vagina—Can Shrink
As women get older, the uterus itself tends to get smaller due to the drop of estrogen levels. Your vaginal entrance can also narrow, particularly, if it isn;t being used. This narrowing can lead to irritation, dryness and sometimes, inflammation of the vaginal wall—a condition called atrophic vaginitis. Left untreated, atrophic vaginitis can cause bleeding and painful sex and pelvic exams.
You May Not Be Able to Control Your Bladder
As you age, musculature and ligaments supporting the pelvic floor start to relax. In some cases, the urethra may actually move in relation to the bladder, which can cause, for lack of a better term, leaking. For stress-related incontinence—when you pee a little after coughing or sneezing—surgical treatment may be required.
You May Experience More Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs can occur more often when you’re older due to more delicate genital tissue. An unrecognized or untreated UTI can progress to a kidney infection and then develop into systemic infection. This can actually cause behavioral changes, such as confusion. Small micro-abrasions can also occur and lead to bladder infection.   H/T: Women's Health

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