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Know the changes in your vagina through the decades

What Happens to your Vagina  as you Age?

Dr. Vrinda, a well-known Gynaecologist was addressing a group of female employees in an organization as a part of their “Health Care Initiative” for women.

Dr. Vrinda – Thank you for allowing me to connect with all of you lovely ladies. Today, I will speak about an important part of our body that we women have been blessed with, the Vagina, and how it changes through the decades.

It is said that the only thing constant in life is change. As the years pass by, we women go through many life changes and so does our vagina. Changes in the vagina start at puberty and continue till menopause. The aging of the vagina also depends on the lifestyle we lead through the years.

The Thrilling Twenties

Your sex hormones viz estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are at their highest level during this decade. Thanks to estrogen, your vagina is well lubricated, elastic, and acidic.

Your sexual desire is at its peak throughout these years, along with pregnancy, birth, and contraception. Your pelvic floor muscles are quite strong during these years.

Excessive consumption of birth control pills decreases the lubrication of your vagina. If you indulge in sex frequently, the chances of you contracting urinary tract infections [UTI] are high. Bacteria travel from the vagina to the urethra hence urinate as soon as possible post sexual intercourse so that the bacteria is out of your vagina. Practice safe sex by using condoms.

The vagina cleans itself time and again producing a white or clear discharge. If you don’t experience pain during sex, itching, burning, or a bad-smelling discharge, your vagina is low maintenance. Clean your vulva regularly with water. That is more than enough.

The Thriving Thirties

If you have chosen to be pregnant in your 30s, note that your pelvic floor muscles have slightly decreased tone and elasticity. During pregnancy, your vaginal discharge may increase and appear milky. Compared to the 20s, in the case of vaginal birth, the vagina takes a little longer to heal in the 30s. Pelvic floor exercises help before and after delivery. These exercises aid the pelvic muscles to contract and release more effectively. This lessens the possibility of bladder and bowel problems, and pressure, while also preventing injury during delivery. They also help in restoring vaginal tone and with muscle retraining after giving birth.

These are also the years when you are burning the candle at both the ends and striving to maintain a work-life balance. This could take a hit on your sexual drive. You may be exhausted after a long day and not be in the mood for sex. There could be times when you could face uncomfortable physical symptoms like vaginal dryness leading to painful sex [dyspareunia]. Talk to your partner/spouse about your discomfort and consult your Gynaecologist for such issues.

The Forties Club

This is the decade when you are slowly walking towards menopause and your vagina undergoes a significant change. Your estrogen levels begin to dip and your vaginal walls become thinner and drier. This is called Vaginal Atrophy and may cause vaginal burning, redness, itching, and painful sex. You can face other issues such as sleep disturbances, urine incontinence, hot flashes, and mood swings. Practice yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. Consult your Gynaecologist and live your forties to the fullest.

The Fabulous Fifties

I say fabulous because, by this time, you have hit menopause. You no longer menstruate and that is freedom from sanitary pads, unexpected pregnancy, and unexpected bleeding. It’s an age when there’s a different confidence in you and you begin to live life to the fullest. The flip side is that your vulva may shrink and lowered estrogen levels may disturb the pH balance in your vagina, thus increasing your risk of infection. Poor vaginal lubrication means discomfort during sex. You may also find yourself running to use the washroom often due to bladder issues. Practice yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.

Feel comfortable in your skin. Take good care of your body. Do not neglect it. Age gracefully. Discuss any issues of discomfort with your partner and also with your Gynaecologist immediately.

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