Changes in a woman’s vagina as she ages

Puberty and childbirth are not the only experiences that change the condition of a woman’s vagina. Surprisingly, age is another factor, particularly after menopause.

Pubic hair

A woman suffers hair loss, greying and thinning of her pubic hair as she ages. If a woman has had to shave her pubic hair when she was young, this change in later years is probably positive as she will no longer need to shave that frequently.

The vulva

It’s worth mentioning that a woman’s vagina and vulva, albeit closely connected, are two completely different things.

Simply put, a woman’s vulva is the exterior part while her vagina is the canal. When talking about the vagina, most women actually mean the vulva.

From her late teens to her 40s (and even 50s), a woman’s vulva stays the same. However, at some point in her life, she may experience Vulvovaginal Atrophy, a condition in which the vulva loses its fullness due to the loss of oestrogen during the perimenopausal and menopause phases of her life.

The vagina

Vulvovaginal Atrophy also affects the vagina. Oestrogen loss may result in dramatic changes in the way a woman’s vagina looks and functions.

The opening and length of the canal may shrink. It will be more prone to irritation as the lining inside the vagina becomes thinner when losing its natural elasticity and moisture.

Many women experience a burning and itching sensation may that interfere with her sex life as she is likely to feel pain during sexual intercourse.

Sex drive

While some women experience a change in their sex drive, others do not. A woman’s sex drive depends on many factors, ranging from hormones to emotional and physical well-being.

Experts consider sex as a way to keep the vagina happy and healthy. Think of sex as a special exercise for the vagina. Try to keep it regular. A woman doesn’t need a fixed schedule, but shouldn’t abstain from sex for too long either.

Prolapse

A prolapse refers to the condition in which a woman’s pelvic organs (the bladder, uterus, the top of the vagina, and the urethra) drops because of weakened pelvic floor muscles.

Although prolapses probably do not cause pain, it’s a dangerous condition and must be addressed with surgery.

Smokers and those who have given birth to many children are at a higher risk of suffering from a prolapse. To avoid prolapses, a woman must work her pelvic floor muscles.

Kegel exercises are the best way to achieve durable pelvic floor muscles. Another option is orgasms. The contractions a woman experiences during an orgasm are the strongest, making it an ideal form of Kegel.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.