What is Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy (VVA)?

Vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) is a chronic medical condition that affects postmenopausal women.  It’s caused by the thinning of the epithelial lining of the vagina and lower genitourinary tract, and the loss of vaginal elasticity. This results in less vaginal lubrication.

With VVA, physiological cellular changes in the vaginal wall epithelial lining occur. These include a decrease in superficial cells and an increase in parabasal and intermediate cells.  This is also an increase in vaginal pH.

VVA symptoms include:

  • Dyspareunia (pain during intercourse)
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Irritation
  • Tenderness

Symptom patterns may vary but irritation was the most likely symptom to occur before menopause and dryness or tenderness more likely to begin during the first year after menstrual periods ceased.

VVA Likely to Increase in the US

Researchers predict that the number of women experiencing VVA in the U.S. is likely to increase due to the aging population and increase longevity.

Did you know:

  • Up to 50 percent of postmenopausal women report VVA symptoms
  • An estimated 32 million women in the United States are currently suffering from VVA symptoms
  • Most women reported VVA symptoms in the post menopause period (one year after menstrual periods ceases)
  • Only 7 percent are currently being treated with prescription therapy
  • VVA is a chronic condition and the symptoms will not go away if not treated

Unlike vasomotor symptoms that often diminish over time, VVA symptoms do not. If untreated, they often get worse.