Aunt Vadge: tears, bleeding, itching, irritation – what’s wrong?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

I’m a 58-year-old diabetic female. I had a complete and total hysterectomy in 2005, and about six months ago I started having razor-like tears, itching, inflammation and bleeding from around my vaginal area and in between and around my anus. This comes and goes with only a couple of days in between.

I have seen my Gyn and all he did was take a pap smear with no return appointment.

My husband of 40 years was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is in treatment, so we have refrained from sex for about four months now, but before then, sex was unbearable with pain. Any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you 
Cut
Age: 58 
Country/Area: USA/New Mexico

Dear Cut,

Sorry to hear you are both having a hard time with your health in one form or another. It sounds rough.

You don’t mention what medications you are on and if you are receiving extra hormone support, which could be influencing your symptoms. My first thought is oestrogen, and my second thought is, you need a new gynaecologist.

Minor cuts and tears can be encouraged to heal well with a vulva and vagina-friendly cuts cream, however it seems there is more going on.

Low or no oestrogen

When you are menopausal and your vaginal area starts to itch, tear easily and is irritated, lack of oestrogen is always immediately obvious as a cause (atrophic vaginitis). I’m sure you are well aware, but after the ovaries are removed or stop working, your oestrogen levels drop off, and with it, the juice that fuels the suppleness and flexibility of your flesh.

This is particularly noticeable around the vagina and vulva, because our vaginal and vulvar cells are so responsive to oestrogen. It keeps them functioning well, and when you lose oestrogen, you can lose a juicy, healthy, functional vagina. Other cells in our body do respond to oestrogen, but not in nearly the same way.

This means your problem – or part of your problem – could be easily solved with some oestrogen cream applied to the vaginal area. I’m very surprised that your gynaecologist has not looked into your problem in more detail, and frankly you sound like you have had a poor experience and your concerns – and problem – has not been taken seriously.

That is sin enough, so if it’s possible, find a new gynaecologist and make an appointment immediately. If you are stuck with this one, you are well within your rights to demand he look into your problem in more detail and not fob you off.

Fungal infection

It is possible your symptoms could be caused by some sort of skin infection, particularly yeast. There are times when yeast goes berserk and grows roots and causes all sorts of terrible traumas, so just make sure you discuss this option with your doctor, particularly if you have had yeast problems ongoing.

Dermatitis reaction

It’s also possible you have become allergic or responsive to something in perhaps your laundry detergent. Replace everything that touches your vulva with hypoallergenic, including soaps. Don’t use any douches, perfumes, creams, or anything that has not been prescribed by your doctor.

Diet

I would also be looking at your diet, and making sure your body has everything it needs to build strong, healthy flesh. That is, protein and zinc in particular, but it all counts. Have a closer look at your diet, and see if it’s supportive of skin health.

If you need help with your diet, a nutritionist or naturopath or another dietician who has an holistic bent should be able to help you, in also supporting your gynaecological issues in concert with your doctor. Your food intake really does matter when it comes to building healthy flesh.

Keeping juicy (once you’re fixed)

Also, don’t forget that sex or masturbating keeps the vaginal cells juicy! It’s the only way outside of oestrogen that is known to keep the vaginal tissue functioning well when oestrogen fails. This isn’t always possible, obviously, but it can definitely help once you are back to normal and not in pain.

There are also vaginal rejuvenation lasers that can stimulate the vaginal cells to regenerate, and that can work wonders on atrophic vaginal tissue.

You sound like you’ve definitely got something going on that needs addressing, but you do need to be examined by someone who knows what they’re looking for and can take a detailed history from you to find the true cause. It may be more complicated than just oestrogen. If your doctors aren’t giving you satisfactory responses, find another doctor, and get help from a naturopath or other health practitioners who tend to work outside the square of western medicine.

Once you have a diagnosis, or if you have more questions, please feel free to write back.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge