Perimenopause is the stage before the onset of menopause. It can last for several years before and can continue from 2-8 years. During this time hormone levels will go up and down causing a variety of symptoms. Decreasing levels of estrogen may cause an increased risk of vaginal infection.
The decreased levels of estrogen cause the blood vessels in the vaginal area to constrict. This decreases the blood circulation, which will affect the natural lubrication of the vagina. Vaginal dryness leads to itching and burning, which may in turn lead to a vaginal infection.
Discomfort caused by decreased vaginal lubrication is examined to determine the cause of the pain and itchiness.
The lower levels of estrogen also cause vaginal pH to increase and the walls of the vagina to thin. This destruction of "good" bacteria in the vagina can leave many women prone to infection. The thinning walls between the vaginal canal and urethra can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
Proper pH balance is an important component of keeping the vaginal area and urinary tract free of bacterial infection.
Strep B is a natural part of the vagina and is not a problem unless it grows out of control. During perimenopause the balance of bacteria becomes out of control and antibiotics are needed to treat the condition. Strep B infection is not usually a concern in healthy adults.
This infection can be dangerous for diabetics and patients with liver disease. Complications of group B strep includes blood infection and urinary tract infection. These complications usually only occur in those with a chronic health problem.
Vaginitis occurs in women when estrogen levels become lowered during menopause and perimenopause. It is an inflammation of the vagina which causes a discharge and pain along with vaginal itching.
Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginitis that is treated with medicated creams or oral medications. Atrophic vaginitis is common during perimenopause and menopause and can be treated with estrogen creams.
Yeast infection is an overgrowth of candida albicans and is common during menopause and perimenopause. Yeast infections are treated with antifungal medications. A diagnosis of yeast infection is important in determining the correct treatment. Yeast infection medications are available over the counter today.
- Photo Credit "What do YOU eat for breakfast?" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Lintilla (Lintilla) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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