It starts with a conversation.
First and foremost, you'll need to talk with your health care professional about any and all symptoms you're having. This might feel awkward or uncomfortable. But keep in mind that medical professionals are trained to discuss sexual issues and vaginal health. Starting the conversation is the first step toward finding a solution.
Different types of pain may indicate different causes. Be prepared to describe if your discomfort is outside or deep inside the vagina. Do you feel burning and itching or muscle spasms? Do you see a noticeable discharge or not? Do you ever experience vaginal bleeding or pain during sex?
Two great tools available to help you document your symptoms are this online symptom identifier and this ]]>printable symptom diary]]>. After completing either (or both!), we recommend you take your completed results with you the next time you visit your health care professional. Some women even send their results to their HCP ahead-of-time, so that their physician has time to review the results before the day of their visit.
After you've discussed your symptoms and your medical history, your health care professional will most likely give you a complete pelvic examination to identify any internal and external signs of atrophic vaginitis, also called vaginal atrophy (click ]]>here]]> to learn more about the condition called vaginal atrophy).
In addition, you may have:
- Lab tests to evaluate your hormone levels
- A check of the acidity level inside the vagina using a sensitive paper strip
- A sample of vaginal cells taken with a swab, to be examined under the microscope